Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (R-OK), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced a resolution to designate April 2019 as “Second Chance Month” and honor those who work to remove unnecessary barriers that prevent those with a criminal record from becoming productive members of society.
During Second Chance Month, we draw attention to the challenges that former inmates face and the steps we can take to ensure they have the opportunity to become contributing members of society.
Colorado has made remarkable improvements to its juvenile justice system resulting in safer communities and fewer youth unnecessarily incarcerated. Due to bipartisan policy solutions, juvenile arrests declined 18 percent and filings to juvenile district court decreased 9 percent between 2012 and 2016; new commitments to the Division of Youth Services have decreased 22 percent since 2013.
Pointing to the punitive nature of parole and supervision in Philadelphia and across the state, District Attorney Larry Krasner has announced his office’s new policy of working with judges to reduce parole and supervision in both felonies and misdemeanors.
Here’s a record Nebraska leaders didn’t want to set: a new high for prison overcrowding.
The Wyoming Legislature passed a slate of bills aimed at tackling criminal justice reinvestment in Wyoming. Based on recommendations from the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, formed after a nearly year-long study, the bills offer science-based solutions to the pressures on the state’s prison system.
Since joining Stepping Up in 2016, Dakota County has made multiple key changes, said Angela Lockhart, the county’s integrated service delivery coordinator. About 15 other Minnesota counties are also part of the program, including Ramsey, Carver, Scott, and Hennepin.
On Monday, Cleveland County became one of a handful of Oklahoma counties to pass a Stepping Up resolution to commit to reducing the number of people with mental illness in jail. According to the Stepping Up website, Cleveland County may be only the third in the state to adopt this resolution, with the other two being Grant and Tulsa counties.
Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton is the project director for the Ohio Stepping Up initiative. Instead of addressing mental illness in jails on a county-by-county basis, Stratton said, Ohio is tackling the problem on a statewide basis. Including Champaign County, there are currently 45 counties in Ohio participating in the initiative.
From 2004 to 2014, the rate in Louisiana of people who returned to prison within three years of their release decreased by 12 percent, according to a national justice organization’s November report on prisoners affected by Second Chance Act programs. The report shows that almost 39 of every 100 such former inmates in Louisiana returned to prison within a three year window in 2004, but in 2014, 34 per 100 did.