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Second Chance Act Programs Supporting Community-Based Mentoring and Transitional Services for Adults

Representative from The Connection Inc.,

Chris Kervick (left) and Kharlton Moore (right) from the National Criminal Justice Association present the 2016 Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award to Jacob Hasson (center left) and Patrick Fallon (center right). Hasson and Fallon’s nonprofit organization, The Connection Inc., received a 2014 Second Chance Act mentoring grant.

Through the Second Chance Act, multiple programs have provided funding for nonprofit organizations—including faith-based, tribal, and community-based nonprofit organizations—and federally recognized tribal communities to provide mentoring and transitional services for adults returning to their communities from incarceration. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) have administered the awards.

Second Chance Act Comprehensive Community-Based Adult Reentry Program

This grant program supports organizations that provide comprehensive reentry services to program participants who are screened, assessed, and identified for program participation before their release from a correctional facility. During the post-release phase of the reentry program, participants receive case management services and are connected to evidence-based programming designed to ensure that the transition from prison or jail to the community is safe and successful.

Organizations that receive funding through this grant program must:

  • Establish a memorandum of understanding or agreement with the correctional agency and the facility from which participants will be recruited;
  • Use a validated criminogenic risk and needs assessment; and
  • Serve a minimum of 150 people who are assessed as having a medium to high risk of reoffending.

Allowable uses for grant funds include:

  • Using reliable, locally validated risk and needs assessment tools to match people with appropriate treatment and reentry services;
  • Supporting a comprehensive range of reentry services that target criminogenic risk, including cognitive-behavioral programming; educational, vocational, and job placement services; transitional employment; substance use treatment; supportive housing; mental health and medical care; and programs that promote family reunification;
  • Providing pre- and post-release mentoring;
  • Providing sustained case planning and management in the community;
  • Implementing staff training, coaching, and performance evaluations on newly adopted evidence-based practices;
  • Planning and implementing strategies to expand options for access to health benefits;
  • Coordinating civil legal aid services; and
  • Developing or enhancing data systems. 

For more information, see the most recent BJA grant solicitation and a related webinar.

Prior to the creation of this grant program, the following programs supported community-based reentry services for adults, with a focus on mentoring:

Second Chance Act Strengthening Relationships Between Young Fathers, Young Mothers, and Their Children

This grant program supports the implementation and delivery of culturally appropriate and gender-specific transitional services that include one-on-one, group, and peer mentoring services for youth and young adults up to age 24 who are fathers and mothers and in the criminal justice system. Other services may include a broad range of activities, including providing case management, assessing both risk factors and personal strengths that can affect recidivism, substance use treatment, and other supportive, comprehensive services to promote responsible parenting and family engagement.

For more information, see the most recent OJJDP grant solicitation.

Current and Past Grantees:

BJA has awarded 175 grants for community-based reentry services; OJJDP has awarded 56: