U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday introduced their Second Chance Reauthorization Act, bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and amend the Second Chance Act, a law that supports state and local reentry programs to reduce recidivism. Then-Congressman Portman originally authored the Second Chance Act with the late-Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and it was signed into law in 2008. Since 2009, more than 850 Second Chance Act grant awards have been made to government agencies and nonprofit organizations from 49 states for reentry programs serving adults and juveniles. As of June 2018, more than 164,000 individuals have participated in these programs.
Leahy and Portman introduced their bill at the same time that Congress is poised to consider criminal justice reform legislation, which has quickly emerged this week as a front-burner issue for congressional action in this post-election lame duck session. Leahy is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan sentencing reform bill, the First Step Act, which was also introduced Thursday in the Senate. President Trump this week lent his support to that effort.