A new version of the proposed federal Second Chance Act, which would aid state and local programs on prisoner re-entry into society, is set to be introduced this week in Congress. The measure has been delayed over backroom discussions of its “faith-based” provisions, speakers told a forum on corrections issues held yesterday in Washington, D.C., by the International Community Corrections Association.
The bill, which would authorize $110 million over two years for “demonstration grants,” will include a compromise provision on the “charitable choice” issue involving rules governing the participation of religious-oriented groups in the program. A lead Senate sponsor of the bipartisan proposal is Sam Brownback (R-Ks.) The leading House sponsor has been Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who is leaving the House soon to become President Bush’s international trade representative. The Second Chance law has been slow to make its way through Congress despite Bush’s support for the idea in his 2004 State of the Union address.