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Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Second Chance Reauthorization Act July 21, 2011

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Earlier today the Senate Judiciary Committee approved S. 1231, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2011, authored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rob Portman (R-OH). The bill provides resources to state and local governments, as well as community-based organizations, to improve the success rates for people released from prison and jail. The committee reported out the bill on a 10 to 8 party line vote.

The bill extends the original grant program authorized by the Second Chance Act for an additional five years while also improving and consolidating certain provisions. S. 1231 provides planning and implementation support for key reentry grantees; creates an incentive for federal inmates to participate in recidivism reduction programming; and repeals several programs that have not been funded or implemented.

During mark-up, committee members accepted several amendments. These amendments support a study of duplicative programs to ensure that federal dollars are spent in a cost effective manner; promote enhanced accountability measures for grantees by requiring periodic audits; require that nonprofit grantees do not hide money in offshore accounts; and promote transparency around compensation for nonprofit executives.

“There are currently more than two million people in jail or prison in the United States, and more than 13 million people spend some time in jail or prison each year. The Second Chance Act recognizes that most of these people will at some point return to our communities,” said Senator Leahy. “I believe strongly in securing tough and appropriate prison sentences for people who break our laws. But it is also important that we do everything we can to ensure that when these people get out of prison, they reenter our communities as productive members of society.”

Committee approval is only the first step in the legislative process. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act now moves to the full Senate for consideration.



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