Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, and Congressman Danny Davis (D-Ill.) yesterday introduced the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015 with the support of House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and others. 

The Second Chance Reauthorization Act builds on the success of the original Second Chance Act of 2008 and continues to authorize funding for both public and private entities to evaluate and improve academic and vocational education for offenders in prison, jails and juvenile facilities. 

Congress passed the Second Chance Act with strong bipartisan support and President George W. Bush signed it into law in 2008. This legislation provides non-profit faith and community-based organizations with mentoring grants to develop support programs such as drug treatment, housing, job training, medical care, and education. Re-entry services have been improved, which resulted in a reduction in recidivism and helped ensure a successful return to society for prisoners who have completed their sentence. More than 100,000 men, women, and youth returning home from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities have benefited from Second Chance grants providing career training, mentoring, family-based substance abuse treatment, and other evidence-based reentry programs.  

This investment has also paid public safety dividends. A report from the National Reentry Resource Center highlights how numerous states have experienced drastic reductions in statewide recidivism rates as a result of robust reentry services made possible in part through Second Chance.   

The outcomes are impressive, but state and local governments as well as non-profit organizations are in dire need of resources in order to ensure that the millions of individuals returning from prison, jail, and juvenile facilities each year continue to receive coordinated evidence-based reentry services.

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The Second Chance Reauthorization Act is an important component of my ongoing efforts to reform and improve our federal criminal justice system, save taxpayer money, and strengthen American families. While prisons are important deterrents in our fight against crime, they remain one part of the solution to a complex problem. Rehabilitation efforts, such as the ones in the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, will help prisoners who have paid their debt to society get back on the right path and become successful, contributing members of their communities.”

Congressman Davis: “Giving individuals a real second chance has turned lives around in neighborhoods across the country, offering a real alternative to a pervasive and damaging cyclical life of crime. We see the ripple effects everywhere where people are building stable, productive lives and neighborhoods through these federally funded programs. We must not lose this momentum.”

Chairman Goodlatte: “The Judiciary Committee recently launched a Criminal Justice Initiative to evaluate proposals to reform our nation's criminal justice system. Prisoner reentry is a key piece of any reform effort. I’m proud to be a cosponsor of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, which supports state and local reentry programs to reduce recidivism.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT.) and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

Additional information about the Second Chance Reauthorization Act:
 Bill Text
• Section-by-Section
• One Page Summary