Key members of Congress spoke this week in Washington, D.C., to the first recipients of grants under the federal Second Chance Act to aid prisoner re-entry programs. Speakers emphasized the need to develop targeted community programs that deliver real results, said the Council of State Governments Justice Center, which sponsored the gathering. “Innovative re-entry programs are the key to bringing down staggeringly high recidivism rates,” said Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Ks.).
Conferees discussed promising approaches in housing, employment, mental health and drug treatment, and other interventions to help former inmates. “By preventing recidivism, the Second Chance Act not only helps prisoners and reduces the costs to taxpayers, but more importantly it also makes it much less likely that any of us will be victims of crime,” said Rep Bobby Scott (D-Va.), chairman of the House crime subcommittee. Added Rep. Danny Davis (D-Il): “These grants will give back hope to thousands of offenders across the country,” said Rep. Davis. Videotaped sessions from the conference will be available next month at the justice center’s National Reentry Resource Center website: www.nationalreentryresourcecenter.org.