House Judiciary Committee Advances Second Chance Reauthorization Act

Justice Reform 01.12,16

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved by voice vote the bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 3406), a bill introduced by Reps. James Sensenbrenner, R. Wisc., and Danny Davis, D. Ill., to reauthorize the Second Chance Act.

The Second Chance Act, originally introduced in 2007 and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008, has provided critical funding to government agencies and nonprofits delivering services to individuals recently released from prison. H.R. 3406 will expand the number of grant programs available and allocate funding for data collection to increase accountability. The data collection and tracking will also increase evidence-based practices that are most likely to reduce recidivism.

In a letter sent ahead of the vote, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights urged members of the committee to support the bill. “Research confirms that comprehensive, coordinated services can help formerly incarcerated individuals find stable employment and housing, thereby reducing recidivism,” the letter stated. “More importantly, by providing the resources needed for reentry services and policies, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act will continue to allow individuals to transition from prison to society successfully.”

Sensenbrenner, who was an original cosponsor of the Second Chance Act in 2007, applauded the committee’s approval.

“We’ve seen time and again that the initiatives put forth in the Second Chance Act work. In addition to saving significant taxpayer dollars, this legislation gives imprisoned individuals the tools they need to successfully re-enter society and become contributing members of their communities,” Sensenbrenner said in a statement. “With broad bipartisan support, this targeted bill will enhance our overall efforts to bring serious and desperately needed reform to our failing criminal justice system. I’m proud to be a sponsor of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act and am pleased by its passage today.”

Learn more about the Second Chance Reauthorization Act here.

Watch the House Judiciary Committee’s mark-up of H.R. 3406 here.