Reentry Policy

Issue: Reentry Policy

Impact:

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.

Position:

No formal position.

Summary:

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 Act includes authorization for a grant program to support reentry courts.  Also included 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, victim services, and methods to improve release and revocation decisions using risk-assessment tools.

Status:

On 6/20/11, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 1231).  The Senate Judiciary Committee reported it favorably, as amended, on 7/21/11.  S. 1231 died at the end of the 112th Congress. 

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.

On 1/14/14, Congress unveiled the 2014 omnibus spending bill (HR 3547).  Funding for the Second Chance Act was at $68M.  Of these funds, $4M was to be spent to improve state, local, and tribal probation or parole supervision strategies and efforts.

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

FY 2011

$100 million ($10 million for reentry courts)

FY 2012

$63 million

FY 2013

$69 million

FY 2014

$68 million

FY 2015

$68 million

FY 2016

$68 million

On 5/30/14, the House approved its FY 2015 Commerce-Justice-Science bill (H.R. 4660) and included $66M for the Second Chance Act.  On 6/5/14, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended their FY 2015 appropriations bill (S. 2437) for approval, which included $70M for the Second Chance Act.  The FY 2015 omnibus appropriations bill (P.L. 113-235) included $68M for the Second Chance Act.  The FY 2016 omnibus bill (P.L. 114-113) included level funding of $68 million for the Second Chance Act.

On 7/29/15, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 3406). On 1/12/16, the House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 3406 by a voice vote.  Preliminarily, the 2nd Chance program gets $68M in the ongoing FY17 funding cycle.  After a year-end CR extended FY 2016 spending levels until April, the 115th Congress will impose its will on the FY 2017 appropriations and as well as for FY 2018.