Holly Harris of the Justice Action Network said, "It has always been an excuse used on the Hill that we need to see where the White House is on this issue and this is the positive signal the folks on the Hill have been waiting on". Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has criticized granting leniency to drug offenders, attended the White House meeting and suggested he might be open to compromise on ideas such as job training.
"We will be tough on crime, but we will provide a ladder of opportunity for the future", Trump said.
Brownback's Mentoring4Success program matches inmates with mentors to help them adjust to community life after incarceration. As Trump noted, the Justice Department has reported that approximately two-thirds of the more than 650,000 ex-offenders released from prison every year are rearrested within three years.
Bevin pointed out that 95 percent of the nation's prison population will eventually be released. Bevin asked. "We're good at removing but we need to do more than simply remove people from society".
The group discussed successes with rehabilitating inmates and reducing recidivism rates in states such as Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky.
According to the report, Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump hosted Democratic senators Dick Durbin, Amy Klobuchar, and Sheldon Whitehouse as well as Republican Senator Mike Lee to their house for a dinner discussion on the issue. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he backs some changes to the system, a topic that came up at the Camp David retreat last weekend. Wednesday's White House event built on similar listening sessions held by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, who discussed the issue at a dinner with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at Kushner and Ivanka Trump's Washington home a year ago.
In Obama's second term in office, he became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison.
But facing a narrow majority in the Senate, the White House views the issue - along with plans for a sweeping infrastructure bill - as among a handful of areas where Trump could work with Democrats in Congress.