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Second Chance Act Spotlight: Byron Davis, Birmingham, Alabama

Second Chance Act Spotlight: Byron Davis, Birmingham, Alabama

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.”

Iowa’s Statewide Recidivism Reduction Strategy: Highlights and Progress

Iowa’s Statewide Recidivism Reduction Strategy: Highlights and Progress

Following four principles of corrections system improvement—organizational development, use of risk and needs assessments, quality improvement, and data collection and management—states like Iowa participate in SRR in an effort to reduce the likelihood of recidivism for every person under correctional supervision.

Reentry Essentials: Addressing Mental Health Needs among People in the Criminal Justice System

Reentry Essentials: Addressing Mental Health Needs among People in the Criminal Justice System

A disproportionate number of people in the nation’s criminal justice system face mental health issues: a Bureau of Justice Statistics report found, for example, that people in U.S. prisons and jails are three to five times more likely to experience serious psychological distress than the general adult population. While there is an overwhelming need to provide effective treatment, challenges exist in quantifying the extent of that need and taking a strategic approach across systems—from law enforcement to community-based reentry services.

Seeking New Perspective, Interview Series Gives Firsthand Look at Criminal Record Clearance Experiences

Seeking New Perspective, Interview Series Gives Firsthand Look at Criminal Record Clearance Experiences

For the Record is produced by the Clean Slate Clearinghouse and features conversations between Rashawn Davis—a policy analyst at The CSG Justice Center—and people who are involved in the criminal record clearance field, including elected officials, lawyers, social workers, and people who have or have had a juvenile or criminal record (or individuals who are all four, or more).

For the Record: A Podcast Featuring Candid Conversations about Criminal Record Clearance—Episode 1, Khalil Cumberbatch

For the Record: A Podcast Featuring Candid Conversations about Criminal Record Clearance—Episode 1, Khalil Cumberbatch

The inaugural episode of For the Record features an interview with criminal justice reform advocate Khalil Cumberbatch, an associate vice president with the Fortune Society and someone who has an intimate knowledge of the series’ subject: he spent almost seven years in prison, and four years after that with a criminal record until he received a pardon in 2014.

Second Chance Act Grantee Takes Part in New Young Adult Correctional Program

Second Chance Act Grantee Takes Part in New Young Adult Correctional Program

The Middlesex, Massachusetts, Sheriff’s Office opened a new jail unit specifically for young adults this month. Established in partnership with the local nonprofit UTEC and the Vera Institute of Justice, the specialized unit—called People Achieving Change Together (PACT)—seeks to reduce recidivism by offering tailored programming to young people between the ages of 18 and 24 at the Middlesex Jail and House of Correction.

Second Chance Act Spotlight: Britney Stembridge

Second Chance Act Spotlight: Britney Stembridge

“The connections through Pathfinders [are] really what made the difference for me,” Steimbridge said. On top of the short-term housing assistance she received, she also credits Pathfinders’ individualized mentoring support with helping her stay on track in recovery.

Second Chance Act Spotlight: Ronald Forbes

Second Chance Act Spotlight: Ronald Forbes

A 55-year-old U.S. Army veteran, Ronald Forbes is on the brink of expanding his Oakland, California-based catering company in partnership with his sister, Catherine. Soon, he’ll move the business to a commercial space, but for now he’s practicing his recipes for barbecue chicken, ribs, and his mom’s potato salad at home.

Second Chance Act-Funded Middle Tennessee Rural Reentry Program Highlighted in Grantee Training and Media Coverage

Second Chance Act-Funded Middle Tennessee Rural Reentry Program Highlighted in Grantee Training and Media Coverage

Staff and a program participant of the Middle Tennessee Rural Reentry (MTRR) Program in Franklin County, TN, a 2015 Second Chance Act Technology-Based Career Training grantee, recently offered insights to fellow grantees as part of the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) training event Engaging Local Employers in Promising Practices for Hiring People Who Have Criminal Records.

WATCH: Gov. Reynolds of Iowa Meets Face to Face with People Incarcerated at a Maximum Security Facility

WATCH: Gov. Reynolds of Iowa Meets Face to Face with People Incarcerated at a Maximum Security Facility

During their visit, Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg met with inmates participating in Iowa’s largest apprenticeship program, in addition to leading a roundtable discussion with many of the program’s stakeholders and local business leaders where they discussed the importance of providing reentry services and employment opportunities for those being released from prisons and jails.

CSG Justice Center Launches Clean Slate Clearinghouse

CSG Justice Center Launches Clean Slate Clearinghouse

Recently, the CSG Justice Center, with funding support from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, launched the Clean Slate Clearinghouse, which helps support juvenile and adult criminal record clearance.

Second Chance Act Participant Spotlight: Sharon Hadley, Harris County, Texas

Second Chance Act Participant Spotlight: Sharon Hadley, Harris County, Texas

When Sharon Hadley arrived at Santa Maria Hostel in July 2012, she had just completed the latest in her decade-long string of sentences for drug-related offenses. “Now that I look back over my life, I can see how the wheels started coming off even before I really knew it,” Hadley said. “I recidivated 13 times. Each incarceration was longer and longer, and I was more and more hopeless.”

WATCH: Gov. Hickenlooper Speaks with Corrections Officers, Incarcerated Women During Face to Face Visit

WATCH: Gov. Hickenlooper Speaks with Corrections Officers, Incarcerated Women During Face to Face Visit

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, on Aug. 16, discussed mental health treatment and “second chances” during a tour of a women’s correctional facility in Denver, where he had the opportunity to #MeetFacetoFace with corrections officers and the people incarcerated there. “Prisoners are often forgotten … out of sight out of mind,” Gov. Hickenlooper said. “I think there are better ways of dealing with their lives than just locking them up in a box.”

Governor Sandoval Proclaims ‘Face to Face Week’ in Nevada

Governor Sandoval Proclaims ‘Face to Face Week’ in Nevada

Launched on Monday, Aug. 14, Face to Face—an initiative sponsored by the National Reentry Resource Center and The Council of State Governments Justice Center in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, JustLeadershipUSA, and the National Center for Victims of Crime—challenges all elected officials to participate in a series of public activities through which they can interact with people who are in prison or jail, corrections officers, victims of crime, and others who have firsthand experience with the correctional system.

Governors Take Action to Launch National Initiative Promoting Connections with People Closest to Correctional System

Governors Take Action to Launch National Initiative Promoting Connections with People Closest to Correctional System

The initiative—sponsored by the National Reentry Resource Center and The CSG Justice Center in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, JustLeadershipUSA, and the National Center for Victims of Crime—will launch with a wave of public activities featuring both Republican and Democratic governors and other elected officials meeting with people impacted by the correctional system in their respective states.

A Message from the Chair and Vice Chair of the CSG Justice Center

A Message from the Chair and Vice Chair of the CSG Justice Center

As you may know, Michael D. Thompson, the director of The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, informed the leadership of the CSG Justice Center’s board and David Adkins, CEO of the Council of State Governments, that he would be leaving the organization at the end of June to join The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Nevada Passes Juvenile Justice System Reform Act

Nevada Passes Juvenile Justice System Reform Act

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed legislation on June 16 in Carson City that seeks to strengthen public safety and improve outcomes for youth in that state’s justice system.

Tucson Community Nonprofit Grows with a Change in Housing Programming

Tucson Community Nonprofit Grows with a Change in Housing Programming

As the leaders of Old Pueblo Community Services (OPCS) can attest, the landscape of housing and reentry services is never static. For this nonprofit organization that serves people at risk of homelessness in Pima County, Arizona, the communities they work in, their clients, funding streams, and research into best practices all evolve over time—and OPCS’ leaders recognize the importance of evolving along with that landscape.

Get to Know the Expert: Q & A with Michael Pinard

Get to Know the Expert: Q & A with Michael Pinard

The CSG Justice Center staff spoke with board member Michael Pinard—the Francis and Harriet Iglehart Professor of Law and co-director of the Clinical Law Program at the University of Maryland (UM) Francis King Carey School of Law—about his thoughts on record clearance, drawing on his experiences as a public defender, professor, and co-founder of UM’s Reentry Clinic.

Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives to Help Chambers Implement Fair Hiring Practices in their Communities

Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives to Help Chambers Implement Fair Hiring Practices in their Communities

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, in partnership with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, has been awarded a $500,000 contract to help support businesses in hiring people with criminal records. The proposal was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Reentry Resource Center in a competitive process from a pool of more than 60 applicants.

Planning and Implementation Guide for SCA Smart Reentry Grantees

This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act (SCA) Smart Reentry: Focus on Evidence-Based Strategies for Successful Reentry from Incarceration to Community grants funded by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). It is not intended to serve as a step-by-step blueprint for developing a reentry program, but rather to foster discussion on best practices, identify considerations for collaborative efforts, and help programs work through key decisions and implementation challenges. Although the guide was developed as a tool for SCA grantees, its exercises and supporting resources may be helpful for other reentry programs.

New England Conference Highlights Regional Approach to Reentry

New England Conference Highlights Regional Approach to Reentry

The conference, which was hosted by United States attorneys of the six New England Districts—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine—uplifted the region’s approach to reentry efforts. Rather than focusing on individual locales, service providers, policymakers, and correctional agencies throughout New England collaborate to ensure a unified approach.

Technology Bridges Distances for a Reentry Program in Western Wisconsin

Technology Bridges Distances for a Reentry Program in Western Wisconsin

Low recruitment numbers. Poor attendance. Lackluster quarterly reports. These are concerns that burden many nonprofit, community-based outreach programs around the country. For Workforce Connections Inc., an organization that serves people returning to their communities from incarceration in western Wisconsin, these problems were heightened by the rural and semi-rural environments from which the organization draws both participants and volunteers.

Hamilton Project Panel Stresses Importance of Reentry Programs

Hamilton Project Panel Stresses Importance of Reentry Programs

Individual panelists offered differing perspectives on what work needs to be done to reduce recidivism, but the group agreed that there are a number of straightforward, nonpartisan measures that state and local governments can adopt in order to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.

Clearing a Path, from Conviction to Employment

Clearing a Path, from Conviction to Employment

After a conviction, people often face severe, unanticipated penalties beyond the court’s sentence, commonly known as collateral consequences. More than half of all collateral consequences are employment related, according to the National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction. For example, in an effort to advance public safety and ensure high-quality services, states require licenses for particular businesses or occupations, such as health care professionals, transportation specialists and cosmetologists.

‘Washington Post’ Criminal Justice Summit Considers Opportunities for Reform

‘Washington Post’ Criminal Justice Summit Considers Opportunities for Reform

As someone who was once incarcerated, Khalil Cumberbatch knows that the things many people miss while behind bars may not be what one might expect. “Many people that I’ve met in maximum security prisons want to … be involved with their community; they want to be taxpayers; they want to be able to drop their kids off and pick them up from school,” he said at the Washington Post’s Criminal Justice Summit in Washington, DC, this month.

HUD Publication Outlines Promising Reentry Housing Models

HUD Publication Outlines Promising Reentry Housing Models

It Starts With Housing is a new publication from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that encourages public housing authorities to collaborate with partners to “make second chances real for the men and women returning” from jail and prison.

RNR Simulation Tool Gives Probation, Parole Officers a Clinical Take on Reentry in Louisiana

RNR Simulation Tool Gives Probation, Parole Officers a Clinical Take on Reentry in Louisiana

People who are returning to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, from two correctional facilities in the state are receiving individualized roadmaps to successful reentry from an unexpected place: the RNR Simulation Tool—a web-based, decision-support system designed in part to assist agencies in determining what types of programming will be most effective in reducing a person’s likelihood of committing another crime.

Risk and Needs Assessment and Race in the Criminal Justice System

Risk and Needs Assessment and Race in the Criminal Justice System

A recent ProPublica story on risk and needs assessment asked some important questions about a particular risk and needs assessment tool and the broader implications of its use. As the national discussion continues about the use and value of risk and needs assessment, the CSG Justice Center offers comments on risk and needs assessment as it relates to racial disparity and bias in the criminal justice system.

Allegheny County Officials, Employers Join Push to Eliminate Labels for People with Criminal Records

Allegheny County Officials, Employers Join Push to Eliminate Labels for People with Criminal Records

Often times, one word stands in the way of connecting people who need jobs with the jobs that need to be filled, according to Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary and member of The Council of State Governments Justice Center Board John Wetzel. “Think of the term ‘offender,’” said Wetzel. “We tell someone coming out of the back end of our system, ‘We want you to do well. We want you to work,’ but then we put a nametag on their chest that says ‘offender.’ That’s not setting folks up for success.”

Vermont DOC Builds Commitment to Restorative Justice

Vermont DOC Builds Commitment to Restorative Justice

The Vermont DOC organized volunteers from local communities into citizen-based boards, which led, in 1998, to the creation of what are now known across the state as Community Justice Centers (CJCs). Today, there are 20 CJCs in Vermont—one in every county—managed centrally by the Vermont DOC. CJCs provide intensive support services in employment, housing, mentoring, and restitution management for people returning to their communities from incarceration. They rely primarily on volunteers to deliver these services.

HUD Says Denying Rentals to People with Criminal Records May Violate Fair Housing Act

HUD Says Denying Rentals to People with Criminal Records May Violate Fair Housing Act

On April 4, the Office of General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued “Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records,” which states that the broad exclusion of people with criminal records in the sale or rental of housing or other real estate transactions may be in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Wichita-Area Businesses Hear from Local, State Voices on Hiring People with Records

Wichita-Area Businesses Hear from Local, State Voices on Hiring People with Records

In Kansas, four out of nine people possess a criminal record. Although the Wichita City Council voted in July 2015 to “ban the box” that asks whether applicants have a criminal record on its job applications—following the lead of dozens of other states and hundreds of cities and counties —there’s still more to be done, said Wichita City Council member LaVonta Williams.

Second Chance Act Grantee Achieves Dramatic Results for High-Risk Women

Second Chance Act Grantee Achieves Dramatic Results for High-Risk Women

When Toby Jones first meets her clients, she finds that many of them are shocked that someone wants to help them. Jones is the mentoring program director for Family Pathfinders of Tarrant County in Fort Worth, Texas, where she serves women in Tarrant County Jail’s Intensive Day Treatment program for substance use.

A Second Chance at Recovery for Women in Wilmington, North Carolina

RESET, which is funded by a 2014 Second Chance Act grant, is a six-month program designed specifically for women and implemented through a partnership between a residential reentry center and a nonprofit behavioral health agency. A typical participant in RESET has a co-occurring substance use and mental disorder and a moderate- to high-risk of committing another crime.

With Help from Partners, Iowa Department of Corrections Tackles Statewide Recidivism

With Help from Partners, Iowa Department of Corrections Tackles Statewide Recidivism

Twenty-eight percent of the people released from prison in the State of Iowa in 2010 were back behind bars by 2013, according to the Iowa Department of Corrections’ (IDOC) Iowa Recidivism Report. But, with a grant awarded from the U.S. Department of Justice, the IDOC is leading efforts to drop the state’s recidivism rate by eight percentage points in five years.

Second Chance Act Grantee Work Reflects Pope’s Belief in Rehabilitation

Second Chance Act Grantee Work Reflects Pope’s Belief in Rehabilitation

“The timing of the pope’s visit puts the spotlight on the crucial area of reentry as a way of conveying that these people are down, they’re looking for a second chance at life, and we have an opportunity to help them make the most of it, and make our communities safer as a result,” Arn Quakkelaar, executive director of Milwaukee-based nonprofit Brothers and Sisters in Christ Serving.

RIDGE Project Among Grantees at NRRC Intensive Training Summit

RIDGE Project Among Grantees at NRRC Intensive Training Summit

The RIDGE Project is today divided into an adult division, a workforce development division, and a youth division. The adult programming begins inside the prison; fathers whose children are younger than 22 and who are within six months from release are eligible.

Southern States Discuss Challenges and Opportunities Related to Hiring Adults with Criminal Records

Southern States Discuss Challenges and Opportunities Related to Hiring Adults with Criminal Records

An estimated 70 million people in the U.S. have a criminal record, and the South is the region with the highest incarceration rates per capita. Research shows that having a steady job can significantly increase the likelihood of success for someone returning home from prison, but oftentimes such individuals can’t get jobs, not necessarily because they’re underqualified, but because employers are wary of hiring people who have criminal histories.

South Carolina Business, Community, and Corrections Leaders Gather in Greenville to Discuss Employing People with Criminal Records

South Carolina Business, Community, and Corrections Leaders Gather in Greenville to Discuss Employing People with Criminal Records

Understanding the importance of employment in reentry success, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and the Greenville Reentry Task Force recently invited more than 30 employers, as well as a number of community leaders, policymakers, and corrections officials, to breakfast at The Commerce Club, where they talked about the obstacles to hiring people with criminal records and also the best ways to overcome those barriers.