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U.S. House Passes the Second Chance Act on Prisoner Reentry November 13, 2007

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Leaders of the Council of State Governments Justice Center commended Members of the U.S. House of Representatives for passage today of the Second Chance Act of 2007, H.R. 1593—a bill that will increase the likelihood that people’s transition from prisons and jails to the community is safe and successful. The bill, introduced by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) received broad bipartisan support, passing the House 347-62.

“The Second Chance Act’s goals and provisions support the kinds of policy changes and programs that the Justice Center’s federally funded Re-entry Policy Council Report recommends to lower recidivism rates,” said Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry, Justice Center board member and chair of the New York State Assembly Correction Committee. “We urge the Senate to take swift action in support of this bill.”

The House bill authorizes up to $55 million dollars in grants to state and local governments to develop reentry initiatives to help keep people released from prisons and jails from re-offending and a $15 million reentry program for community and faith-based organizations to deliver mentoring and transitional services.

“The passage of the Second Chance Act illustrates the extraordinary bipartisan consensus that exists among elected officials that we need to reduce the rates at which people return to prison after they’re released,” said Rep. Davis.

Approximately 95 percent of all state prisoners will be released. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), half will return to prison within three years and even more will be re-arrested. In part, these recidivism rates are driving the continued growth of prison and jail populations across the country and associated costs. As of 2004, national spending on local, state, and federal corrections totaled $61 billion. That figure is poised to increase; a recent report from The Pew Charitable Trusts stated that if current federal, state, and local policies and practices do not change, taxpayers are expected to pay as much as $27.5 billion on prisons alone over the next five years on top of current corrections spending.

“Enacting the Second Chance Act and funding the programs it authorizes will enable us to save taxpayer dollars, increase public safety, strengthen families, and make sure the gates to our prisons are not just revolving doors,” said Rep. Cannon.



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