Congress took shound fund the new Second Chance Act to help former inmates return to their communities, says the New York Times in an editorial. The law could cut recidivism and “ruinous” prison costs by helping states develop programs to provide job placement, drug treatment, mental health care and other services. New sentencing and re-entry policies are already taking hold in several states, thanks in part to work by the Council of State Governments with the support of the Pew Charitable Trust's Center on the States.
Texas and Kansas expanded community-based drug treatment and mental health services In Texas, the new system has reduced parole revocations by 25 percent and helped the state avoid a projected increase in the prison population that would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The Times say the $100 million sought by the Obama administration for prisoner re-entry “would be a good down payment, but only a down payment, on what is needed.”