Fort Worth community advocates pushing for prison reform

Community advocates are hopeful that President Donald Trump is serious about prison reform, which includes overhauling the sentencing system and helping create jobs for ex-inmates.

Discussions about prison reform always come around to finding ways to prevent repeat offenders. From Washington to North Texas, one solution is jobs. People who get out of prison need jobs.

In roundtable discussions this week that include prison reform, the president says that's starting to happen.

Community advocates say without jobs some people coming out of prison are often only left with bad choices.

Corey Session is a member of Fort Worth's Race & Culture Task Force.

"If you can't find a job, if you can't find a house or living conditions, what else are you left with?” he said. “That creates recidivism.”

Session says working on convincing employers to consider former inmates is a major part of their discussions.

"Businesses need to interview the individual, not their past, and see what kind of feeling you get from that person,” he said.

Supporters recognize violent offenders may not get jobs. But Session says most people in prison are there for non-violent crimes.

“There's certain thing people have done employers just will not forgive,” he said. “Whatever happened that caused them to get in that predicament shouldn't be an X on their back for the rest of their lives. They need an opportunity to work."

The president says that's not an unreasonable expectation.

“Our first duty is to our citizens, including those who have taken a wrong path but are seeking redemption and a new beginning,” Trump said.

One former inmate told FOX 4 he’s been turned away from several jobs when employers find out he's done time in prison.

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