Second Chance Act

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 700 awards have been made to grantees across 49 states.

Current and Past Programs:

Adult and Juvenile Reentry Demonstration

Mentoring for Adults, Young Fathers, and Juveniles

Reentry for Adults and Juveniles with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders

Statewide Adult Recidivism Reduction

Statewide Juvenile Reentry Systems Reform

Smart Supervision

Technology Careers Training

Supporting Latino/a Youth from Out-of-Home Placement to the Community

Strengthening Families and Children of Incarcerated Parents

Family-Based Adult Offender Substance Abuse Treatment

Reentry Courts


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

Where a Humane Correctional System Thrives

The Washington Times By Tom Wolf ANALYSIS/OPINION: While dozens of states across the country have moved forward with bipartisan-supported criminal justice reforms, Pennsylvania holds a unique place in this effort as the birthplace of the movement. In 1787, many of […]