Paul Ryan: Help People Move from Welfare to Work
WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, Wisconsin’s First District Congressman Paul Ryan spoke at the North Carolina Business and Economic Development Summit about the importance of welfare and criminal justice reform.
Excerpts of Ryan’s responses to the summit attendees follow.
On poverty and welfare reform:
“We want to continue to make progress on moving people from welfare to work. Too many people are not sharing their talents with us and therefore are not hitting their potential in society. And we’ve got a lot of able-bodied adults that are on the sidelines. We’ve got to come up with better policies to get them in the game, get them into jobs, get them into work, get them on the ladder of upward mobility. And so we’re going to reauthorize and work on welfare reform this fall. That’s a huge priority of ours.”
On criminal justice reform:
“We need to make redemption cool again in society. And we’ve—I think we overcompensate—‘we,’ meaning the political system overcompensated in the 90s, with our sentencing [policies]. We’re looking at prison reform. We’re looking at sentencing reform with respect to the federal policy, and that’s just a small slice of what happens in criminal justice.”
“I think the federal government can take the lead on having more discretion for judges on non-violent crimes. There are alternatives to incarceration that have proven to be more successful to getting people on the right path and into work. Then, we need prison reform itself within prisons, so that while people are incarcerated they have better opportunities, whether that is getting a GED, getting skills, or getting the kind of counseling they need. We want to maximize these alternatives like drug courts, which make it easier to help people get back into society.”
“We should give people second chances. We’ve got to find a way to do this in society. I think the federal government can set the tone through reforms, which can give the states an incentive to [do] the same with their laws.”