Reentry Policy

Issue: Reentry Policy


The original reentry concept used the problem-solving courts model for offenders released from incarceration.  The concept evolved to focus on community planning and coordination of services to address the needs of recently released prisoners from jails and prisons and the needs of their families.  Courts are stakeholders in the planning.


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 (DOJ), and Labor (DOL). 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 the initiative can be found on the Office of Justice Programs website.

The Second Chance includes authorization for a grant program to support reentry courts.  Also included in the Second Chance Act is authorization for the Adult and Juvenile Offender State and Local Reentry Demonstration Projects, which provides grants to states and local governments that may be used to coordinate reentry efforts and establish best practices amongst corrections professionals.  Allowable uses of funds include employment services, substance abuse treatment, housing, family programming, mentoring, victims services, and methods to improve release and revocation decisions using risk-assessment tools.


Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) introduced the Second Chance Act of 2007 (HR 1593) on 3/20/07.  Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) introduced a similar bill, Recidivism Reduction and Second Chance Act of 2007 (S 1060) on 3/29/07.  The President signed HR 1593 on 4/9/08 making it Public Law 110-199.

The history of funding for the Second Chance Act has been as follows.

FY 2009

$25 million

FY 2010

$100 million ($10 million for reentry courts)

FY 2011

$100 million ($10 million for reentry courts)

FY 2012

$63 million

FY 2013

$69 million

The President’s FY 2012 budget request included $100 million for the Second Chance Act and prisoner reentry grant programs.  On 7/13/11, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, which provides $70 million for Second Chance Act Programs.

On 6/20/11, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 1231), which would reauthorize the Act through FY 2016.  The Senate Judiciary Committee marked-up (S 1231) on 7/21/11 and reported it favorably as amended.  No Senate floor action has been scheduled.

On 7/17/13, the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee included $55 million for Second Chance for FY2014. 

On 11/13/13, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced reauthorization legislation, the Second Chance Act, S. 1690/H.R. 3465. The legislation would extend the prisoner reentry programs for an additional five years.