Congress Restores Funding for the Second Chance Act

On Monday, November 14, 2011, House and Senate conferees released the “minibus” appropriations report, which includes Fiscal Year 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) spending. The conference report, a consolidated appropriations bill for several agencies including the Department of Justice, provides $63 million for the Second Chance Act.

The compromise appropriations bill resolves differences in Second Chance Act funding between the House, which allotted $70 million for the program, and the Senate, which provided no funding. The bill is expected to go to the full House and Senate for consideration this week.

"The Second Chance Act is having a tremendous impact nationally. It has changed the way state and local leaders think about prisoner reentry and it's demonstrating how we can reduce recidivism, which not too long ago many thought was impossible. Continued funding is a victory for every community seeking to increase public safety and to help families and neighborhoods receiving people released from prison and jail," commented Justin Jones, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

The bill provides $2.2 billion for state and criminal justice programs, including:

  • $63 million for Second Chance Act programs;
  • $9 million for Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act programs;
  • $470 million for Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants;
  • $6 million for comprehensive criminal justice reform and recidivism reduction efforts by states, also known as Justice Reinvestment;
  • $35 million for drug courts;
  • $10 million for residential substance abuse treatment programs;
  • $20 million for Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act programs;
  • $12.5 million for prison rape prevention and prosecution, and other programs.

In addition, the package contains a continuing resolution that funds other federal operations until December 16, 2011 – or until Congress completes the remaining nine FY 2012 appropriations bills.

Click here to see the legislative text approved by the conferees.  To read the conference report, click here.

To learn more about the Second Chance Act, click here.