Updates from Capitol Hill

capitol

The Justice Center’s government affairs team works to promote the priorities of CSG members and their partners on Capitol Hill and with the executive branch. Legislative services include educating policymakers on complex criminal justice issues and communicating project findings to legislators that can be applied to policymaking and new practices. The team collaborates with experts from a wide range of disciplines and from all branches of government to ensure that policy and legislative recommendations are practical and based on sound data.

Second Chance Reauthorization Act Introduced in U.S. House

Second Chance Reauthorization Act Introduced in U.S. House

U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Danny K. Davis (D-IL) recently introduced the bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015, which will allow pivotal investments in strategies to reduce recidivism and increase public safety to continue to be made for an additional four years.

Obama Supports ‘Second Chances’ for People Convicted of Nonviolent Offenses

Obama Supports ‘Second Chances’ for People Convicted of Nonviolent Offenses

After commuting the sentences of 46 people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes earlier in the week, President Barack Obama said in a major speech on July 14 at the NAACP that it was time to reduce sentences for people convicted of nonviolent crimes generally and to invest in helping formerly incarcerated people reenter society.

The Second Chance Act (Fact Sheet)

The Second Chance Act (Fact Sheet)

Nearly all of the 1.6 million individuals incarcerated in the U.S. will be released at some point. Individuals returning to their communities from prison or jail have complex challenges and needs that contribute to the likelihood that they may return to incarceration.

Bill to Fund Key Justice Programs Advances out of Senate Appropriations Committee

Bill to Fund Key Justice Programs Advances out of Senate Appropriations Committee

On the heels of the U.S. House of Representatives’ approval of the FY2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill, the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed a $51.1 billion spending bill that would fund three key programs championed by the Council of State Governments Justice Center: the Second Chance Act, the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act, and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.

Second Chance Reauthorization Act Introduced in the Senate

Second Chance Reauthorization Act Introduced in the Senate

In an extraordinary display of bipartisan cooperation, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, which will expand upon the success of the original Second Chance Act by continuing, improving, and consolidating its programs.

Fact Sheets

The Second Chance Act (Fact Sheet)

The Second Chance Act (Fact Sheet)

Nearly all of the 1.6 million individuals incarcerated in the U.S. will be released at some point. Individuals returning to their communities from prison or jail have complex challenges and needs that contribute to the likelihood that they may return to incarceration.

The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (Fact Sheet)

The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (Fact Sheet)

A 2006 Department of Justice study showed that approximately 45 percent of federal inmates, 56 percent of state inmates,and 64 percent of jail inmates displayed symptoms or had a history of a mental disorder; among female inmates in state prisons, the rate was nearly three out of four.

Leahy, Portman Reintroduce Bill to Support Ex-Offenders and Reduce Crime

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) joined with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) Thursday to introduce a strengthened version of their earlier bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Second Chance Act, a law that supports state and local reentry programs to reduce recidivism and provide those leaving prison with real opportunities to rebuild their lives after they are released.

Jails Are No Substitute for a Mental Health System

Using our criminal justice system as a substitute for a fully functioning mental health system doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense for law enforcement officers, who often put their lives at risk when they are called upon to intervene in a mental health crisis. It doesn’t make sense for courts, which are inundated with cases involving people with mental illness. It doesn’t make sense for people who have mental health conditions, who often would benefit more from treatment and intensive supervision.