The Reducing Recidivism and Second Chance Act of 2007 (H.R. 1593) will help make communities safer and provide housing and rehabilitation to ex-felons.
Washinton D.C. 3/12/2008 08:53 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)
Second Chance Act (H.R. 1593) Passes Congress!
On Tuesday, March 11, the U.S. Senate passed The Second Chance Act, legislation designed to aid former prisoners coping with the challenges of reentry. The Second Chance Act authorizes $362 million to states, local governments and nonprofit prisoner reentry organizations to help former prisoners obtain job training, literacy training, substance abuse treatment, counseling, housing and mentoring services, and now awaits the signature of President Bush before it can become law.
The Senate version of the Second Chance Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-Del.), Arlen Specter (R-Penn.), Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT). The bipartisan bill was passed by voice vote after the Senate adopted a concurrent resolution (H Con Res 270) that made minor changes to the Second Chance Act, including limiting the federal share of project costs for some reentry programs. In November 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 347 to 62 to pass the Second Chance Act.
The Second Chance Act also includes a limited pilot program for early release of eligible nonviolent elderly prisoners over the age of 65 who have served the greater of 10 years or 75 percent of the term of imprisonment to which the individual was sentenced.
The Second Chance Act is Congress’ response, in part, to the growing number of individuals in prison. “In recent years, this Congress and the states have passed a myriad of new criminal laws creating more and longer sentences for more and more crimes. As a result, this country sends more and more people to prison every year. There are currently more than two million people in jail or prison, and there are more than 13 million people who spend some time in jail or prison each year. Most of these people will at some point return to our communities,” said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). “What kind of experience inmates have in prison, how we prepare them to rejoin society, and how we integrate them into the broader community when they get out are issues that profoundly affect the communities in which we live.”
“The Second Chance Act will go a long way to help these ex-offenders reintegrate into the community and become productive, contributing members of our community. Congress has passed this critical legislation, and I hope the President quickly signs it into law,” said Senator Biden.
President Bush must sign the Second Chance Act before it becomes law. This bill provides essential programs that will support successful rehabilitation and reentry. Handing prisoners the tools to be successful will also help make our communities safer.”
"This is just the begining of a entirely new wave of restoring rights and beniefits to Ex-Felons," said former 10 Year Federal Inmate Larry Levine, founder of American Prison Consultants, a national prison consulting firm that provides pre incarceration assistance to inmates prior to entering the Federal Prison System. "Federal Parole and the increase of Good Conduct Time to ex-felons is just around the corner," said Levine.