Trump strengthens evangelical ties with prison rehabilitation reform initiatives

by WorldTribune Staff, May 4, 2018

President Donald Trump has stepped up his administration’s outreach to evangelicals, who turned out in huge numbers to support him in 2016.

President Donald Trump with White House adviser Jared Kushner. / Reuters

“The administration wants to assist long-time prison reform advocates with their initiative to create a prison system that will rehabilitate citizens who have made mistakes, paid the price and are deserving of a second chance because studies show these reforms will ultimately reduce crime and save taxpayer dollars,” a White House official told columnist Paul Bedard.

Evangelicals say it’s not just words and outreach from the Trump administration they have been impressed with, but also an agreement over policy.

Trump has enlisted White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner in the outreach effort.

Kushner this week helped to rally faith leaders, pastors, and Christian mental health professionals from around the country who support prison reforms and the rehabilitation of inmates, according to Bedard’s report for the Washington Examiner on May 3.

“The issue has been picking up steam under his guidance but remains stalled on Capitol Hill. Enlisting evangelical and Christian leaders could help the issue overcome remaining opposition,” Bedard wrote.

Kushner hosted a call to 150 key evangelical leaders, including televangelist Jentezen Franklin and Prison Fellowship advocate and former New York Mets outfielder Darryl Strawberry, an ordained minister.

“Evangelical voters turned out in record numbers to vote for Donald Trump and were in large part responsible for his historic victory,” the official told Bedard. “That strong relationship has only grown stronger since President Trump has been in office in part, because of President Trump’s many accomplishments for religious liberty, pro-life policies, the moving of Israel’s Embassy and the confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice.”

Prison reform is another “bipartisan policy” they agree on, the official said.

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