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U.S. Sen. Capito leads bipartisan effort to enhance reentry programs, promote public safety

West Virginia Press Association

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On June 5, U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2024, which would reauthorize critical reentry grant programs from the Second Chance Act of 2008, which was most recently reauthorized during the Trump Administration as part of the First Step Act in 2018, including services and supports for housing, career training, and treatment for substance use disorders and/or mental illness. The legislation would reauthorize critical programs to reduce recidivism, invest in communities, and promote public safety. 

“Over 95% of incarcerated people will be released at some point,” Senator Capito said. “The Second Chance Reauthorization Act will allow people reentering society to become successful and productive members of their communities. I am proud to introduce this legislation that will continue to provide resources to evidence-based programs that reduce recidivism rates and promote public safety.”

“Ensuring that individuals reentering society after incarceration have the tools and support they need to successfully reintegrate is a crucial step in building safer communities,” Senator Booker said. “By offering hope, support, and opportunity to those seeking to rebuild their lives, we aim to break cycles of recidivism and create a pathway for individuals to positively contribute to their communities. Since 2008, we have seen firsthand the redemption and transformation that has taken place as a result of the Second Chance Act, and reauthorizing this legislation is essential to continue the progress we’ve witnessed thus far.”

“The Second Chance Act is a proven, time-tested law that extends lifelines of opportunity and support to formerly incarcerated people. This legislation would build on those successes again, as it did when we last reauthorized it as part of my landmark First Step Act. We must continue investing in and advancing policies that curb recidivism and create opportunities, so our criminal justice system can live up to its ultimate mission: to rehabilitate and prepare people for successful reentry into society. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reauthorize this important law,” Senator Durbin, Senate Majority Whip and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said.

“Second Chance programs offer formerly incarcerated individuals the resources to build better lives and contribute to their communities,” Senator Cornyn said. “By reauthorizing investments in these reentry initiatives, we can reduce recidivism and improve lives.”

“Community reentry grant programs from the Second Chance Act have been vital to reducing recidivism and fostering lasting change for individuals reentering society. These grant programs lend a helping hand to folks looking to rebuild their lives after incarceration by offering support and services for housing, employment, health care, and more,” Senator Welch said. “Our bipartisan legislation builds on this progress by reauthorizing the Second Chance Act to invest in programs that promote community safety and help reduce recidivism.”

The Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2024 would: 

  • Reauthorize key grant programs that provide vital services, supports, and resources for people reentering their communities after incarceration;
  • Expand allowable uses for supportive and transitional housing services for individuals reentering the community from prison and jail; and
  • Enhance addiction treatment services for individuals with substance use disorders, including peer recovery services, case management, and overdose prevention.

Since its passage 15 years ago, Second Chance has supported states, local governments, tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations in their efforts to reduce recidivism. To date, Second Chance grants have reached more than 442,000 justice-involved individuals who participated in reentry services or parole and probation programs. West Virginia has received more than $5 million in funding through Second Chance grants.

From 2009 to 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded over 1,100 Second Chance Act grants totaling more than $600 million to states, local, and tribal governments, as well as reentry-focused nonprofit organizations. Second Chance grants have been administered to 845 agencies across the U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia.

In addition to Senators Capito, Booker, Durbin, Cornyn, and Welch, this bill is also cosponsored by Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

The Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2024 is endorsed by the following organizations: The Council of State Governments Justice Center, Conservative Political Action Coalition, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Prison Fellowship, Huntington, WV QRT (Quick Response Team), West Virginia Certification Board for Addiction & Prevention Professionals, Reentry Working Group, Correctional Leaders Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, National Sheriffs’ Association, Addiction Professionals of North Carolina, Alliance for Safety and Justice, All Rise, Alvis, Inc., America Forward, American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Jail Association, American Parole and Probation Association, Amiracle4sure, Appalachian Field Services, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Addiction Policy Forum, Behavioral Health Foundation, Benton Franklin Recovery Coalition, Better Futures Minnesota, Beyond the Pod, Big Thought, Bohart Counseling PLLC, Boss Mode Recovery, Braeburn, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Bridgeways Business Roundtable, CADCA, California Consortium of Addiction Programs & Professionals, Californians for Safety and Justice, Cara Collective, Catholic Charities USA, Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services, Center for Employment Opportunities, Center for Justice and Human Dignity, Center for Living and Learning, Children and Family Futures, Chrysalis Civil Citation Network, Coalfield Development, Community Kitchen Pittsburgh, Concordance Academy, Connecticut Certification Board, Empowerment Plan, Faces & Voices of Recovery, FareStart, First Step Staffing, For The People, GreenLight Fund, Harm Reduction Research Lab, University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson, Haymarket Center, Hope House Treatment Centers, Hopeworks, HousingPlus, IC&RC, IJIS Institute, Inmates For Change, International Community Justice Association, Jobs for the Future, Juma Ventures, Just Detention International, JustLeadership USA, Keys2Work, Landforce, Live for Life, Inc., Living Redemption Community Development Corporation, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, LOTUS Consulting, LLC, Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association, American Civil Liberties Union, Montgomery County Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, Inc., National Alliance for Recovery Residences, National Association for Children of Addiction, National Association of Counties, National Association of Evangelicals, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, National Association on Mental Illness, National Behavioral Health Association of Providers, National Black Women’s Justice Institute, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, National Crime Prevention Council, National Criminal Justice Association, National District Attorneys Association, National League of Cities, National Youth Justice Network, Neighborhood Industries, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, New Earth, New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc., New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, Northern Valley Industries, North Lawndale Employment Network, Office of the Cobb County District Attorney, Georgia, OIC of South Florida, OPA Staffing, LLC, Oregon Council for Behavioral Health, PAR Recycle Works, Pioneer Human Services, PRC, Prison Families Alliance, Rebuilding Exchange, RecycleForce, REDF, Repowered Responsible Business Initiative for Justice, Roca, Inc., R Street, Safer Foundation, Shatterproof, Social Finance, Streets Team Enterprises, Sullivan County Department of Public Health, Texas Certification Board of Addiction Professionals, The Alston Wilkes Society, The Episcopal Church, The Fortune Society, The National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, The Trenton Sun, The United States Conference of Mayors, TimeDone, Today I Matter, Inc., Touch A Heart, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, Treatment Communities of America, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Union for Reform Judaism, Uplift Northwest, UTEC, Inc., Valeo, Vera Institute of Justice, Weld Seattle, WestCare Foundation, Women’s Community Justice Association, Youth Connections Coalition.

U.S. Representatives Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

To read the full text of the bill, click here. 

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