BY ISN STAFF | September 3, 2014
As people of faith who walk daily with our returning brothers and sisters, we take solace in the words of Pope Francis, who reminds us that “God is in everyone’s life,” even in those whose actions we find hard to forgive. We urge you to reauthorize this vital program that offers a helping hand and a second chance to those who need it most.
Legislation to reauthorize and expand the Second Chance Act, a federal grant program for activities that support people returning to their communities after incarceration, received a boost from three prominent Jesuits earlier this month. In a letter to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Jesuit Fathers Gregory Boyle, S.J.(executive director, Homeboy Industries), Michael Kennedy, S.J. (executive director, Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative) and Timothy Kesicki, S.J. (president, Jesuit Conference USA) urged support of the Second Chance Act on behalf of the Society of Jesus.
First signed into law on April 9, 2008, the Second Chance Act was designed to help prisoners effectively reintegrate into the community. The Act established grants for government agencies and nonprofits to provide services that reduce recidivism by improving outcomes for people returning from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S. 1690/H.R. 3465) extends these prisoner reentry programs for an additional five years, including demonstration grants, mentoring, substance abuse and family-based programming. It also expands the number of grant programs available and promotes increased accountability and outcomes from grantees.
The bipartisan legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and in the House by Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Howard Coble (R-NC), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Spencer Bachus (R-AL) and Steve Chabot (R-OH).
Read the full letter from Fathers Boyle, Kennedy and Kesiciki here.