The CSG Justice Center recently held a briefing on Capitol Hill with members of Congress and other experts to discuss how the Second Chance Act has improved reentry outcomes throughout the country.
Since 2008, the Second Chance Act (SCA) has received bipartisan support to provide vital services for people returning to their communities from prisons and jails—including employment training and assistance, substance use treatment, education, housing, family programming, and mentoring. Congress allocated $125 million for the program in fiscal year 2023.
Speakers included the following:
- Representative Danny K. Davis (D-IL);
- Representative Kelly Armstrong (R-ND);
- Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who made remarks virtually;
- Ruby Qazilbash, deputy director of the Policy Office at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance;
- Cam Ward, director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles;
- Ray Woodruff, reentry director of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections; and
- Autumn Valero, recovery peer specialist at Santa Maria Hostel in Houston, Texas.
What They’re Saying:
“What I’m most proud of, Second Chance is more than a grant—it’s a concept; it’s a belief; it’s a faith; it’s an idea.”
Representative Danny K. Davis
“Not only are you bettering your society, helping your workforce, giving people who deserve it a second chance…you break that cycle, break the cycle of poverty, cycle of addiction… If we continue to do that, we are making our societies safer, making them better, and we’re going to move forward.”
Representative Kelly Armstrong
“This is an opportunity to enhance the community… Second Chance programs give people a lifeline. This is a mission… Us members of Congress will continue to advocate for this mighty program that saves lives.”
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
“When I think about Second Chance Act’s impact in the field, SCA grantees are at the forefront to take an evidence-based approach and tailored approach on what is important that individuals need…the Second Chance Act funding provided that flexibility for programs… A lot of amazing things…have come about through the Second Chance Act. There is still work to be done…”
Dr. Nicole Jarrett, Director of Corrections and Reentry, CSG Justice Center
“I am pleased to see what we have done in Alabama with the Second Chance Act grants…We need to humanize this issue. It’s about human decency. If we can help someone get the skills that they need…to get back on their feet, get a job, and succeed, they don’t commit crime. That is our goal.”
Cam Ward, Director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles
“We are delighted to have met with members of Congress, justice professionals, and people who have gone through the reentry process. At the CSG Justice Center, we are proud to support these communities to reach their goals, and we look forward to continuing to provide states and localities with data-driven solutions that bolster opportunity, economic mobility, and individual and community advancement.”
Megan Quattlebaum, Director of the CSG Justice Center
In case you missed it, watch the video of the briefing.
Photo by inhauscreative via Canva.
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