Issue: Reentry Policy
The original reentry concept used the problem-solving courts model giving judges a supervisory role over offenders released from incarceration. The evolving concept involves the courts in community planning and coordination of services to address the needs of recently released prisoners from jails and prisons and the needs of their families.
No formal position
The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative is a collaborative effort among the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, and Labor. The initiative is designed to help communities combine close supervision with services to help ex-offenders become law-abiding citizens, gain long-term employment, and maintain stable residence. The initiative targets communities with reentry efforts that involve public-private partnerships and will involve close coordination among courts, corrections staff, law enforcement, probation/parole officers, workforce investment boards, and other community-based service providers. Information about these initiatives and its grantees can be found on the Office of Justice Programs website.
Additionally, the Council of State Governments (CSG) established a multi-disciplinary Re-Entry Policy Council to discuss policy implications for communities and ex-offenders and to develop recommendations that will assist legislators. COSCA and the American Judges Association (AJA) were represented on the Council. The final CSG report was released on 1/14/05. A copy of the report is available on the Web at http://www.reentrypolicy.org.
Then Representative Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the Second Chance Act of 2005 (HR 1704) on 4/19/05 to reauthorize the Adult and Juvenile Offender State and Local Reentry Demonstration Projects grant program and establish other grant programs relating to the reentry of offenders into the community. The 109th Congress adjourned before passing the legislation.
Representative Danny Davis introduced the Second Chance Act of 2007 (HR 1593) on 3/20/07. The House Judiciary Committee endorsed the bill on 3/28/07. The House approved HR 1593 on 11/13/07 by a vote of 347-62.
Senator Joseph Biden introduced a similar bill, Recidivism Reduction and Second Chance Act of 2007 (S 1060) on 3/29/07. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported the bill favorably on 8/2/07. The bill sponsors hope to bring the bill to the Senate floor in early 2008.
The Senate approved HR 1593 by unanimous consent on 3/11/08. The President signed the bill on 4/9/08 making it Public Law 110-199.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $20 million for FY 2009. The House CJS Subcommittee has proposed $45 million.