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BWSUSAIRR Reviews of the 2007 Second Chance Act
Review By Denise Ragland
Congressman Danny K. Davis
The Second Chance Act of 2007, titled "To reauthorize the grant program for reentry of offenders into the community in the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, to improve reentry planning and implementation, and for other purposes," was submitted to the House by Representative Danny Davis to amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to reauthorize, rewrite, and expand provisions for adult and juvenile offender state and local reentry demonstration projects to provide expanded services to offenders and their families for reentry into society. H.R. 1593 was signed into law April 9, 2008 by President Bush
Congressman Davis is responsible for the creation of The Second Chance Act of 2007. His passion is maintaining the family unit, and he proves it while serving on the Congressional Standing and Sub-Committees as he enters into the 116th Legislative Session. Congressman Danny K. Davis will serve as Chairman of the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee on the House Ways and Means Committee. The Worker and Family Support Subcommittee (formerly known as the Human Resources Subcommittee) has jurisdiction to issues that relate to the public assistance provisions of the Social Security Act, including temporary assistance for needy families, child care, child and family services, child support, foster care, adoption, supplemental security income, social services, eligibility of welfare recipients for food stamps, and low-income energy assistance.
The Second Chance Act was created to ensure that ex-offenders have an Opportunity to migrate back into society with a skill set and be productive citizens with a Fresh Start and new outlook on Life. During the creation of this Legislation, the main focus and purpose was to ensure that ALL Federal, State and Local agencies work together to ensure a successful outcome for all ex-offenders and their families. The intent is to cut crime through current and new programs. Some of these programs include but are not limited to:
- The Department Of Justices' Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI)
- The Anti-Gang Initiative
- Department Of Labor's Ready4Work Program,
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Mentoring Children of Prisoners program.
This bill will help state and local governments, Indian tribes, and non-profit groups implement programs that will improve the prisoner re-entry process.
It allows a man or woman the opportunity to seek a better life, develop a skill to become more self-efficient and confident about once again being a productive part of their community.
Along with delivering such vital services, these programs advance innovation in reducing crime and breaking cycles of recidivism.
Such community programs will provide ex-offenders with essential services, like housing and medical care. It will help develop prisoner drug treatment programs; support prisoner mentoring initiatives. It will support family counseling and other services to help prisoners re-establish their place in the community.
Although, this is not an exhaustive list, pieces of this legislation will do the following:
- Authorizes the Attorney General to provide for the establishment of a National Adult and Juvenile Offender Reentry Resource Center to collect data and assist grantees in carrying out offender reentry programs. It also requires the Attorney General to ensure that grants are distributed equitably among the geographical regions and between urban and rural populations, including Indian tribes.
- Requires states receiving funds under the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program to provide aftercare services, including case management services and other support services. Requires the Attorney General to conduct a study on the use and effectiveness of funds used for aftercare services.
- New and Innovative Programs To Improve Offender Reentry Services - Requires grantees to report annually to the Attorney General on the activities of reentry courts.
- Authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to state, tribal, and local prosecutors for drug treatment programs that are alternatives to imprisonment.
- Authorizes the Attorney General to make grants for family substance abuse treatment alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent parent drug offenders and for prison-based family treatment programs for incarcerated parents of minor children.
Many, many stipulations are attached to this Bill to make sure that funds are used properly and for the welfare of the ex-offender and their families.
As we move along in our journey, we will witness the vision that God gave to Congressman Davis and see how it has changed and will change thousands of Lives.
Review By Daniel M. Crooks
In 2007, the House of Representatives passed the Second Chance Act. The bill promised to provide transitional assistance to ex-offenders in coping with the challenges of reentry. It was intended to reduce recidivism, and help reunite families and protect their communities. The state leaders promised that the bill would protect the community and save taxpayer dollars. These elected officials passed the Second Chance Act in order to respond to the long neglected problem of overly populated prisons in America.
From 1974 to 2007, America’s prison population grew from about 200,000 to around two million in least than 33 years (Davis, 2019; Copp & Bales, 2018). Elected official could not continue to keep quiet, when America’s incarceration rate was more than any other develop nation in the world. The imprisonment of so many of its people was not only inhuman, but the social and economic implications was becoming self-evident.
The negative consequences of mass incarceration has been extremely disconcerting. A topic two Criminology and Criminal Justice professors wrote very extensively about. Copp and Biles (2018) wrote, “Imprisonment reduces future earnings and job opportunities, limits civic participation, contributes to mental and physical health problems, destabilizes families, and further disadvantages economically marginalized communities.” These growing concerns are why elected officials chose to respond to America’s mass incarceration problem, and so the Second Chance Act was passed also by the Senate on March 3, 2008, then it was sent to the White House. On April 4, 2008, the Second Chance Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush.
I believe the second chance act is not only vital for our society, but also for the people trapped in the revolving door of the prison system. For years, men and women have entered prisons and reentered their communities with no attention given to their special needs. These ex-offenders have had to deal with drug habits, physical and mental health problems, homelessness, and lack education or qualifications for a job. In face of these adversities, they are challenged with being a burden to their spouses, families, and communities. As their true desire is to successfully reenter their communities, in order to start supporting their families, pay their taxes, and become self-sufficient citizens; however, it’s hard to make it happen with no supportive services are available.
The Second Chance Act is a second chance for ex-offenders. It is also a second chance for their spouses, their children, and their communities. Like sentiment of Congressman Danny K. Davis who voted to pass the bill, I believe everyone desires a second chance to turn their life around. An opportunity to beat their drug habit, get help with their physical and mental health problems, and become self-sufficient and productive citizens.
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