Second Chance Act in Peril

Imagine being newly released from prison, only to find yourself on the streets with no money, perhaps no place to live and no skills to find a job. Studies show that this can seriously lead to recidivism--the  released prisoner returning to prison as they have no other way to survive.

In 2009 the Second Chance Act was signed into law to help improve the outcomes for people who are returning to communities from prisons and jails. The bill authorizes federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations to help provide employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing, family programming, mentoring, victim support and many other services that can help fight recidivism.

Hundreds of state, local, and community organizations have signed on to date to protect the funding for this critical prisoner reentry program.

However, the Senate Appropriations Committee recently decided to eliminate funding for the Second chance Act for the fiscal year of 2010. What? This is crazy! In a recent study be Pew Charitable Trusts, it is estimated that states could save millions of dollars if they cut recidivism by only 10%. We are talking a savings of millions of dollars! And the chance for newly released prisoners to become citizens that can help support communities.

The House supports continued funding for the Second Chance Act--the Senate has set no funding for the program while earmarking $300 million dollars in new aid for building federal prisons. Please read the studies Senate that state that this funding for the Second Chance Act will save the government money!

The Council of State Governments Reentry Policy Council is asking for help to restore the Second Chance Act. Please go this website and there you will find several links to resources that can help restore this crucial funding to help fight recidivism.