CSG Justice Center staff spoke with four Second Chance Act Innovations in Reentry Initiative grantees about their experiences fostering effective partnerships between criminal justice practitioners and the researchers evaluating their programs. These programs span the country and the justice system, serving clients within courts, prisons, jails, and in the community.
Second Chance Act Grant Program
The Second Chance Act (SCA) supports state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations in their work to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people returning from state and federal prisons, local jails, and juvenile facilities. Passed with bipartisan support and signed into law on April 9, 2008, SCA legislation authorizes federal grants for vital programs and systems reform aimed at improving the reentry process.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) funds and administers the Second Chance Act grants. Within OJP, the Bureau of Justice Assistance awards SCA grants serving adults, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention awards grants serving youth. Since 2009, more than 800 awards have been made to grantees across 49 states.
Second Chance Act Grant Programs
- Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Disorders
- Community-Based Mentoring and Transitional Services for Adults
- Family-Based Substance Use Treatment
- Implementing County and Statewide Plans to Improve Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System
- Innovations in Reentry
- Innovations in Supervision
- Mentoring and Transitional Services for Youth
- Juvenile Community Supervision Improvement
- State, Local, and Tribal Reentry Courts
- Statewide Recidivism Reduction
- Technology Career Training
- Two-Phase Juvenile Reentry Demonstration
Who is eligible to apply for grants? Depending on the specific Second Chance Act grant program, state and local government agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes, and nonprofit organizations may be eligible to apply. Please review the pages on each grant program to determine eligibility.
When can I apply for grants? Solicitations for Second Chance Act applications are typically released throughout the first half of each calendar year. Please subscribe to updates from the National Reentry Resource Center to hear about these solicitations and other funding opportunities.
Is it allowable to assist persons reentering the community from federal prisons under a Second Chance Act program? Yes. Grantees receiving Second Chance Act funds may use those funds to provide assistance to individuals returning to the community following incarceration, including incarceration in a federal prison.
Is it allowable to assist exonerees under a Second Chance Act program? Yes. Grantees receiving Second Chance Act funds may use those funds to provide assistance to exonerees, along with other individuals returning to the community following incarceration
How can I find Second Chance Act programs near me? The National Criminal Justice Initiatives Map has information on where grantees of the Second Chance Act and other federal grant programs are located.
Second Chance Act in the News
“I have the motivation to be in control of my own choices—for how I see my future and how I see my children’s future,” Darius Dennis said. “That’s what the program taught me. So it was absolutely the right thing for me at the right time.”
Byron Davis used the end of his sentence in Limestone Correctional Facility near Huntsville, Alabama, to get ready for his next step: searching for work back home in his community, just outside of Birmingham. He intended to put his conviction for dealing drugs behind him. “I don’t want to go back to that,” Davis said. “But I need to work, to make a living.”