Second Chance Act Grant Program

Federally funded resources for state and local efforts to improve reentry outcomes

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. Since its inception, more than 800 Second Chance Act grant awards have been made to government agencies and nonprofits for reentry programming designed to provide services that can help reduce recidivism and increase public safety. From 2009 to 2019, the CSG Justice Center provided technical assistance to Second Chance Act grantees. For the most up-to-date information on Second Chance Act, please visit the U.S. Deptartment of Justice Office of Justice Programs.

April 2018 | The Council of State Governments Justice Center, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the National Reentry Resource Center

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.

From 2009 to 2019, the CSG Justice Center provided technical assistance to Second Chance Act grantees. For the most up-to-date information on Second Chance Act, please visit the U.S. Deptartment of Justice Office of Justice Programs.

 

FAQ

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.

Does the program apply to people reentering from federal prison?

Yes. Grantees receiving Second Chance Act funds may use those funds to provide assistance to people 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.

Technical Assistance

The CSG Justice Center has provided training and technical assistance to government agencies and nonprofit organizations that were selected to receive grants under the provisions of the Second Chance Act.

As a result of this work, CSG Justice Center produced a set of Reentry Technical Assistance Tools designed to help policymakers and practitioners improve reentry services.

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Highlights and Successes

America is the land of second chance, and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.
President George W. Bush
2004 State of the Union Address