President Trump announced plans Monday for a Second Step Act focused on easing employment barriers for formerly incarcerated people.

"We are proving we're a nation that believes in redemption," Trump said at a White House event celebrating people released under the First Step Act, which he signed in December.

Trump said the "second step" legislation will feature a $88 million funding request for prisoner social reentry programs.

"Today, I'm announcing that the Second Step Act will be focused on successful reentry and reduced unemployment for Americans with past criminal records, and that's what we're starting right away," Trump said.

The First Step Act passed with broad bipartisan support, but after a bruising intra-Republican fight, with hardliners led by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and supported by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions opposing criminal sentencing reductions.

Trump said formerly incarcerated people are up to five times as likely to be unemployed and that the new legislation would seek to close the gap. He did not identify bill sponsors, but several Republican senators attended the event, including Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a leading prison and sentencing reform advocate.

Coinciding with the event, the Charles Koch Institute, which supports criminal justice reform, and the Society for Human Resource Management released a poll showing 78 percent of Americans feel comfortable interacting with workers with a nonviolent criminal record.

As described by Trump, the Second Step Act will be less ambitious than the First Step Act, which bundled prison reforms with changes in sentencing laws, though not all applied retroactively. The package expanded "good time" credit for inmates, created a pathway for "earned time" early transfer to halfway homes, and allowed compassionate release for elderly and sick inmates, and for those caring for terminally ill family.

Some advocates had urged deeper sentencing reforms in a second major criminal justice reform bill.

Troy Powell, whose crack cocaine sentence was shortened by the First Step Act, spoke at the event Monday and called for more action to release inmates.

"There's more that can be done. I left so many people behind in prison doing 40, 50 years for nothing, I mean absolutely nothing," Powell said. "I think there should be a second step."

Trump applauded Powell. "Could I have said it better than that? His statement about so many people? And that's true, so many people are there that really are serving 40 and 50 year sentences for things you wouldn't even believe, for things some people wouldn't even be going to prison for today," he said.

During his remarks, Trump went off-script to thank Walmart, which last month interviewed and then hired Catherine Toney, whose crack cocaine sentence was shortened by the First Step Act.

Toney, standing over Trump's shoulder during the event, gave brief remarks thanking Jared Kushner for calling Walmart's corporate offices to help her get a job at her local Alabama Walmart.

Trump said his administration would also "encourage employers to adopt second chance hiring practices," and gave rare applause to the media for favorable coverage of Alice Johnson, whose drug sentence he shortened last year using his executive clemency powers.

"Alice said, 'I also want to thank the media.' I bent over and said, 'Are you sure?' And I do too, I think that's fantastic," Trump said.

One speaker at the event, former prison inmate and Georgetown University law professor Shon Hopwood, was introduced by Trump as a current teacher of his daughter Tiffany Trump.

"I think you're going to be rewarded in a way you cannot even imagine," Hopwood told Trump.