Fattah Speaks at Report Release on Recidivism Today in Washington; Promotes FOCUS Act to Direct More Funding to Justice Reinvestment


Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) will address justice reinvestment stakeholders this afternoon in Washington at the release of a new report showing reduced recidivism rates in eight states as a result of successful reentry and second chance programs. The Council of State Governments Justice Center will hold a discussion with Fattah, and other elected officials from across the country, in conjunction with the publication of their report, “Reducing Recidivism: States Deliver Results.”

“This report is further proof that alternative strategies to incarceration work,” Congressman Fattah said. “With the release of the data today, we’ve now seen success by 15 states at reducing three-year recidivism rates because of investments in innovative, evidence-based programs that improve reentry and lessen the chance of reoffense.”

Highlighted in the report are eight states that have lowered their recidivism rates, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In each of the states, the crime rate fell as investments in alternative strategies rose. Pennsylvania saw a 7.1% decrease in their recidivism rate, attributed to Second Chance Act grants, targeted reentry programs, data collection and performance measurement, and incentives and sanctions.

Through his role as Senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS), Congressman Fattah has pushed for increased funding for reinvestment programs in the Department of Justice (DOJ), and has been a powerful advocate for the Second Chance Act.

In the bipartisan CJS Appropriations Act passed last month in the House, $65.5 million was appropriated for the Second Chance Act. The bill also included $30 million for justice reinvestment, and $380 million for the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. Additionally, the legislation included funding for the formation of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections that will review and make recommendations on how to reduce the nation’s prison population through reform and reinvestment strategies.

Last fall, Congressman Fattah introduced America’s FOCUS Act, a bill that would significantly increase funding towards justice reinvestment programs. By intentionally redirecting revenues from corporate fines, settlements, and penalties towards a newly created FOCUS Fund, the legislation will evenly distribute the money to corresponding agency-administered funds. In addition to funding DOJ reinvestment initiatives to manage criminal justice populations more effectively, it would also expand youth mentoring and STEM education, and support innovations in medical and science research.