CSG Justice CenterCSG Justice Center

Second Chance Act Grant Program

The Second Chance Act (SCA) supports state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations in their work to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people returning from state and federal prisons, local jails, and juvenile facilities. Passed with bipartisan support and signed into law on April 9, 2008, SCA legislation authorizes federal grants for vital programs and systems reform aimed at improving the reentry process.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) funds and administers the Second Chance Act grants. Within OJP, the Bureau of Justice Assistance awards SCA grants serving adults, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention awards grants serving youth. Since 2009, more than 800 awards have been made to grantees across 49 states.

 Second Chance Act Grant Programs


Who is eligible to apply for grants? Depending on the specific Second Chance Act grant program, state and local government agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes, and nonprofit organizations may be eligible to apply. Please review the pages on each grant program to determine eligibility.

When can I apply for grants? Solicitations for Second Chance Act applications are typically released throughout the first half of each calendar year. Please subscribe to updates from the National Reentry Resource Center to hear about these solicitations and other funding opportunities.

Is it allowable to assist persons reentering the community from federal prisons under a Second Chance Act program? Yes. Grantees receiving Second Chance Act funds may use those funds to provide assistance to individuals returning to the community following incarceration, including incarceration in a federal prison.

Is it allowable to assist exonerees under a Second Chance Act program? Yes. Grantees receiving Second Chance Act funds may use those funds to provide assistance to exonerees, along with other individuals returning to the community following incarceration

How can I find Second Chance Act programs near me? The National Criminal Justice Initiatives Map has information on where grantees of the Second Chance Act and other federal grant programs are located.

Second Chance Act in the News

State Gets $1.5M in Grants to Ease Inmates’ Re-Entry into Life ‘Outside’

Gov. John Carney and correction officials pledged to use the funding to implement new programs and expand others with the goal of reducing recidivism. Among the initiatives will be providing limited financial assistance for individuals on probation, giving inmates job know-how, and broadening treatment initiatives.

Delaware Department of Correction Awarded Two Rare Federal Grants to Help Fight Recidivism

Christian Kervick, executive director of the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, helps run one of the many entities that will benefit from the federal funding. “It’s great to be reminded every once in a while that we have a great track record of going after competitive grants…Our office has been aggressive over the past decade in thinking outside the box.”