Senators introduce Second Chance Reauthorization Act

Senator Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Portman (R-OH) have introduced the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, a step forward for continued reentry funding. The Second Chance Act was first enacted in 2007, and provided resources and support to local corrections agencies, nonprofits, education institutions, service providers, and families to help offenders reintegrate into their communities. Since the law’s passage 250 grants have been awarded in nearly every state. Among other provisions, the senators want the reauthorized act to include reentry projects that use evidence-based practices, such as BI’s cognitive behavioral treatment programs.

According to a press release from Senator Leahy, the proposed Bill “reauthorizes, improves and consolidates existing state and local grant programs, while reducing costs for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars and improving prisoner reentry policy at the federal level.”

When announcing the new legislation Senator Portman stated, “The Second Chance Reauthorization Act improves current law by making the programs under it more efficient and accountable, and by providing additional incentives to participate in recidivism programs.”  Senator Leahy added, “But it is also important that we do everything we can to ensure that when these people get out of prison, they enter our communities as productive members of society, so we can start to reverse the dangerous cycle of recidivism and violence.”

Specific provisions of the act include:

  • Support for planning and implementation of key reentry projects to ensure that those projects use methods proven through testing and review to lead to meaningful reductions in recidivism rates;
  • Create an incentive for inmates to participate in rigorous recidivism reduction programming by awarding a credit of up to 60 days per year toward completion of their sentence for participation in such programs.

To view the full text of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act click here.