11 Alive | Free Chapel pastor Jentezen Franklin applauds Trump administration’s move for criminal justice reform

A local pastor and religious adviser to the president is praising Trump’s apparent efforts at criminal justice reform.

Wednesday night, Trump announced he would support the bipartisan plan developed by top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner to reform the prison system.

The “First Step Act” would be designed to improve rehabilitation programs for former prisoners and give judges more discretion in sentencing offenders for non-violent crimes, especially drug offenders.

The president said it would “make our communities safer and give former inmates a second chance at life after they have served their time.”

On Twitter, Thursday, Gainesville pastor of Free Chapel Church Jentezen Franklin voiced his support for the President on the issue.

“So pleased with the hard work @realDonaldTrump , Jared Kushner, @IvankaTrump , @Paula_White and other faith leaders and a bipartisan group of lawmakers have done to craft the First Step Act,” he tweeted.

Franklin continued, saying that the nation was finally at the “crossroads of being able to make this dream a reality” after years of talking about prison reform.

He concluded by calling on Congress to “get this over the finish line.”

Franklin is a member of the president’s religious council and has often spoken publicly about the administration’s positions on national issues.

In a 2017 interview with 11Alive’s Cheryl Preheim in the first months after Trump took office, Franklin said after advising the president that he got the impression that “he cares.”

But this past January, he broke with the president and voiced his disappointment at the use of derogatory words Trump reportedly used to describe African nations and Haiti.

He’s also spoken to 11Alive about immigration, saying “These people matter.”

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