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Second Chance Act

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2015
2 pages
After reviewing the rationale for and the provisions of the Federal Second Chance Act, this paper describes the features of the act's grant program and some grantee activities.
The Second Chance Act was enacted to address the challenges and needs posed by the large number of people returning to their communities after incarceration in prisons and jails. These are individuals documented to have needs in the areas of mental health, substance use, housing and homelessness, education and employment, and family relations. In April 2008, Congress passed the Second Chance Act with bipartisan support. This first-of-its-kind legislation mandates Federal investment in strategies for reducing recidivism and increasing public safety while reducing corrections costs for State and local governments. The bill authorized up to $165 million in Federal grants to State, local, and tribal government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Since 2009, approximately 700 grants have been awarded for programs at State and local levels that address the needs of ex-inmates returning to their communities. Funded programs are addressing employment training and assistance, substance-use treatment, education, housing, family programming, mentoring, victim support, and other related services. Grant amounts are reported for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2016. Four grantee programs are briefly described. 1 figure and 15 notes