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


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

New Norfolk Program Aims to Keep Repeat Offenders out of Jail

The Virginia Attorney General’s Office is teaming up with the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office to target inmates who are most likely to be repeat offenders. It’s the first program in Virginia designed to target that segment of the inmate population.

Ensuring the Last Chance for Kids in the Arizona Justice System Isn’t a Dead End

Heather Griller Clark was a teacher for the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, which operates its own one-school district at Adobe Mountain. Its teachers are all Arizona-certified and subject to the same requirements as public school teachers outside the fence for core content areas. Some are certified in vocational education, and those are the teachers Griller Clark is working with to improve the odds of success for youths who leave Adobe Mountain.