Every year, more than 600,000 people are released from state and federal prisons in the United States. Nearly 90 percent of all incarcerated people will be released at some point. Policies that fail to account for how these individuals will successfully reintegrate have a real human cost. A prison system that focuses primarily on punishment, rather than rehabilitation—and creates barriers to family unification, employment, education, and civic participation—makes it increasingly difficult for the people reintegrating into their community to remain crime-free and become fully contributing members of society.
- Check out our fact sheet about the barriers to successful re-entry. (PDF)
Our Latest Report
A Second Chance: Charting a New Course for Re-Entry and Criminal Justice Reform (October 2013)
"A Second Chance" examines the impact of four barriers that make re-entry more difficult and recidivism more likely—predatory prison phone rates; inadequate access to education; restrictions on employment; and restrictions on voting. The report discusses the consequences of these practices and makes a series of policy recommendations regarding their reform.
Second Chance Reauthorization Act
In 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the bipartisan Second Chance Act to provide $165 million in grants for local, state, and tribal agency programs aimed at helping individuals navigate their move from prison and reducing recidivism. To date, the Second Chance Act has been successful and its benefits have extended to many states across the country. Nearly 500 Second Chance Act grants have been awarded to state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Native American tribes since the program was established in 2008. Grant awards have totaled $250 million.
In November of 2013, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the law, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
More information on the Second Chance Act and Re-Entry
- Bureau of Justice Assistance
- Council of State Governments
- Reentry Matters: Strategies and Successes of Second Chance Act Grantees Across the United States - Council of State Governments report
- From Prison to Work: A Proposal for a National Prisoner Re-entry Program - The Brooking Institution report - December 2008.
More information on the Second Chance Reauthorization Act
- Text of the Senate bill (S. 1690)
- Text of the House bill (H.R. 3465)
- Bipartisan Legislators Introduce Second Chance Reauthorization Act - Feature Story (11/21/13)
- Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Second Chance Act Introduction, Releases Report on Vital Prisoner Re-Entry Reforms - Press Release (11/13/13)