February 01, 2016

Second Chance Act

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Jan. 12 to reauthorize the Second Chance Act, which ABA President Paulette Brown maintained in a letter to the committee “is essential to providing continuity for its evidence-based and cost-effective support for programs that improve reentry from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities and that serve, not incidentally, to advance public safety.”  The bipartisan bill, H.R. 3406, was introduced last summer and has 58 cosponsors. Brown, in her Jan. 11 letter to committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), explained that more than 50 percent of the people released from prison every year are reincarcerated within just three years because of challenges they face when returning to their communities. She said that “smart-on-crime” policies can help decrease this through providing services to help the recently released individuals find employment, secure housing, and obtain other services. Brown also emphasized that initiatives under the act can also save taxpayer dollars. “By providing the resources needed to coordinate reentry services and policies at the state and local levels,” she wrote, the bill “will ensure that the tax dollars spent on corrections do not simply fuel a revolving door in and out of prison.”

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