Second Chance Act Grants Help Further Promising Reentry Programs and Practices

By Mai P. Tran, Program Associate

In October 2013, 104 government agencies and nonprofit organizations across the country were awarded grants through the Second Chance Act to help improve the outcomes for and reduce recidivism among individuals leaving prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. Second Chance Act grant recipients provide reentry services, including employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing, family programming, mentoring, victims support, and other services. The FY2013 grant recipients comprise the grant program’s fifth cohort since the Second Chance Act was passed in April 2008.

In FY2013, there were 11 Second Chance Act grant program categories, including reentry demonstration programs for adults or juveniles, adult mentoring and transitional services, technology career training, reentry for adults or juveniles with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders, statewide adult recidivism reduction, and Smart Probation programs which support community supervision agencies in implementing innovative evidence-based practices.

Second Chance Act grants have allowed agencies and organizations across the country to implement diverse initiatives that help individuals involved with the criminal justice system successfully return to their communities. Moreover, many FY2012 grantees whose initiatives demonstrated promising outcomes received grant renewals or additional grants in FY2013 to support the continuation of their work.

One such grantee is the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPSC), which received a Recidivism Reduction grant in FY2012 and Demonstration and Technology Career Training grants in FY2013. “The Second Chance Act grant we received in 2012 allowed us to use best practices in our department, which we will be extrapolating to the rest of the state,” said Rhett Covington, DPSC’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Reentry.

Since 2009, nearly 600 Second Chance Act grants, with a total funding amount of $255 million, have been awarded in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Second Chance Act funding has also supported research initiatives, including the National Institute of Justice-led evaluations of reentry programs and a study of correctional education, as well as training and technical assistance for the reentry field.  To learn more about Second Chance Act grant programs, click here.  To read Reentry Matters, a recent publication with snapshots of successful Second Chance Act grantee programs, click here.