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Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) met with state corrections heads from around the country in the nation’s capitol today to discuss prisoners returning to communities and recidivism reduction. The corrections leaders lauded Leahy and Portman for the introduction of Second Chance Reauthorization Act, S. 1231.

“When Congress passed the Second Chance Act four years ago, we gave needed resources to the states to help improve reentry programs that have proven, positive results,” said Leahy. “I am grateful for the support of those officials on the front lines in the states, developing these important reentry programs, working to promote public safety while helping offenders return to their communities as productive members of society. I know that later this year, these officers and others from around the country will come together to discuss ways that states can help reduce recidivism to improve public safety. This should be a priority on the federal level as well.”

The Second Chance Act provides critical funding for reentry efforts to learn how to effectively integrate the science of risk reduction into reentry efforts and fill gaps in services, which are critical to success. A recent report by the Pew Center on the States showed that 43% of people coming out of prison nationally return within 3 years making recidivism a significant pressure on criminal justice systems.

“By improving prisoner reentry, we can prevent crime, strengthen communities and save taxpayers’ dollars,” said Portman. “The Second Chance Act is making an important contribution to public safety and reducing costs to taxpayers and it should continue. I hope the Committee will move this important legislation to the floor, and I look forward to working with Senator Leahy and others to pass it in the Senate.”

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director, Gary Mohr, has seen first hand the strains that overcrowded prisons place on the state budgets and communities. “Ohio, like many states, has seen prison spending grow by 21% in less than a decade. That’s faster than most other areas in the state budget and puts enormous pressure on taxpayers to foot the bill.” He added: “The Second Chance Act is one of our best hopes for addressing one significant element of prison growth—the cycle of offenders who recidivate and return to prison.”

A.T. Wall, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections pointed to the elements of the Second Chance Act that states are learning from: “This funding helps to focus our efforts on programs that are proven to work. It is not good enough to have a gut feeling that something will change behavior. Second Chance Act programs are based on evidence-based practice to reduce recidivism, which helps us to know where to make public safety investments that will be the most effective.”

Andrew Pallito, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Corrections was thankful for the introduction of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act: “In Vermont and around the country, we are relying on key leaders here in D.C. to promote and fund programs that help state corrections address the overwhelming challenge of improving prisoner reentry and reducing recidivism. We are grateful for the leadership of Senators Leahy and Portman in advancing this important legislation.”



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