Senators Leahy and Portman Announce Bill Reauthorizing Second Chance Act
Date:  11-14-2013

Senators say reauthorization would help break the cycle of violence and recidivism
Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rob Portman(R-OH) issued a press release announcing a bill that would reauthorize the Second Chance Act. Leahy spoke on the importance of sound reentry programs claiming, “More than 650,000 ex-offenders are released from prison each year. The experience inmates have in prison, how we prepare them to rejoin society, and how we integrate them into the broader community when they are released are issues that profoundly affect the communities in which we live.”


Jessica Brady (w/Leahy) – 202-224-7703

Caitlin Dunn (w/Portman) – 202-224-5190

Leahy, Portman Introduce Legislation To Support Ex-Offenders & Reduce Crime

Second Chance Reauthorization Act Would Extend Successful Programs

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, November 13, 2013) -- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday to reauthorize the Second Chance Act, a law that supports state and local reentry programs to reduce recidivism. Wednesday’s bill introduction comes as the Judiciary Committee is considering ways to reduce prison costs for federal, state and local governments. The Second Chance Act, which was first enacted in 2008, aims to tackle those costs by improving prisoner reentry policy at the state and federal levels, ultimately decreasing the number of repeat offenders.

“As a former prosecutor, I believe strongly in securing tough and appropriate prison sentences for people who break our laws,”Leahy said. “It is also important that we do everything we can to ensure that when people get out of prison, they enter our communities as productive members of society, so we can start to reverse the dangerous cycle of recidivism and violence. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act helps break this cycle.”

Leahy and Portman joined in 2011 to introduce a similar reauthorization bill to the one they introduced today. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), coordinating in a bipartisan, bicameral effort, introduced a companion bill in the House today.

“Second Chance works, and that is why we have joined together to craft a reauthorization bill for the legislation that has strong bipartisan support,”Portman said. “We all want to reduce the crime and violence that plagues our communities; that we read about in the paper and see on the news every night. Rather than incarcerating repeat offenders in the same families generation after generation, we can put our taxpayer dollars to better use to break this vicious cycle and turn lives around. The ultimate goal of our criminal justice system is to make our families and our communities safer. The work done under the Second Chance Act helps us to accomplish that goal, one life at a time.”

The Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S. 1690) reauthorizes the law for five years. Key provisions in the bill would:

  • Provide support for planning and implementation of key reentry projects to ensure that those projects use methods proven through testing and review to lead to meaningful reductions in recidivism rates:

  • Offer grant funding for creative job training programs;

  • Expand eligible applicants for several programs to include nonprofit organizations;

  • Repeal several programs that have not been funded or have been completed, and consolidate other programs to ensure that federal dollars are effectively spent; and

  • Require periodic audits of grantees to ensure that federal dollars are responsibly spent; grantees with unresolved audits will not be eligible for funding in future years.

    To read an outline of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2013 click here to go to website.

    To view a sectional analysis of the bill click here to go to website.

    The text of legislation can be found by clicking on the link below.
  • Click here to read more.