In a press release yesterday, Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) announced a new bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Second Chances Act of 2008, a law that bolsters state and local reentry programs for ex-offenders, which can help reduce recidivism, save taxpayer money, and preserve public safety.
According to the release, SB1513–the Second Chances Reauthorization Act–continues targeted funding of local and state programs through 2020 that have been proven to “reduce recidivism, lead to better outcomes for those released from prison, and save prison costs.”
SB1513–strengthened from its previous iteration–would also provide separate “planning and implementation grants” to ensure that any such reentry programs are well developed and functioning properly, add “nonprofit organizations to allowable grantees for grants for programs promoting family-based substance abuse treatment,” and repeal “several provisions calling for studies that have been completed and removes support for programs for which other funding sources have been identified.”
This latest version of the Second Chances Reauthorization Act builds on the last Congress’ bill–SB1690–which had 22 co-sponsors from both parties, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. According to Sen. Portman, the bill will “send a message that there’s a better way than living a life of crime”:
“It tells ex-offenders that if you want to turn your life around and become a productive member of society, we want to help. Rather than incarcerating repeat offenders in the same communities generation after generation, we can put our taxpayer dollars to better use to break this vicious cycle and turn lives around.”
Sen. Leahy echoed those thoughts:
“With more than two million people behind bars, and 650,000 ex-offenders being released each year, we need to reauthorize these critical programs that reduce crime and increase public safety. Investing in these services has been proven to reduce recidivism and bring down prison costs. It is also the right thing to do.”
The full press release can be found here.