President Obama visited New Jersey today to promote his new efforts to help prisoners re-integrate into society, the Star-Ledger reports. Visiting a facility that helps former inmates and joining a roundtable on the topic at Rutgers University, the president made his case. "There are people across the board—folks who work inside the criminal justice system, folks who are affected by the criminal justice system, who are saying, "There's got to be a better way,'" he told 226 people in attendance at Rutgers. Among his plans, which the New York Times calls "relatively modest":
- Job applicants with the federal government won't have to reveal their criminal history right away—so they can make an impression first. Obama has also called on Congress to "ban the box" that requires applicants to disclose any past criminal conviction.
- New education grants and tech training programs will be made available to help former prisoners, the White House said today.
- A new "National Clean Slate Clearinghouse" will allow certain released prisoners to seal or wipe clean their records. Residents of public housing under the age of 25 will be given the same chance.
Obama's visit sparked partisan rancor between Gov. Chris Christie and the White House, CNN reports. Christie accused Obama of piggybacking on criminal-justice reforms that aren't his, and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called Christie's remarks "particularly irresponsible, but not surprising for somebody whose poll numbers are close to an asterisk."