Tue April 16, 2024

By Press Release

Politics State

Westerman, colleagues introduce Second Chance Reauthorization Act

Bruce Westerman Second Chance Reauthoriation Act
Westerman, colleagues introduce Second Chance Reauthorization Act
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Representatives Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Carol Miller (WV-01), Danny Davis (IL-07), Bobby Scott (VA-03), Barry Moore (AL-02), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), and Jerry Nadler (NY-12) introduced the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2024, bipartisan legislation to reauthorize Second Chance Act programs for an additional five years and reduce recidivism rates nationwide.

“Promoting second chances is essential to breaking the cycle of crime. When we meet individuals who have paid their debts to society with the support and tools they need to succeed, rather than with burdensome legal and social barriers, they are less likely to re-offend and more likely to be positive members of our communities," said Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04). "I'm proud to support the Second Chance Reauthorization Act to promote second chances and foster safer communities. The opportunities and resources provided by this legislation are paramount in breaking the cycle of crime and reducing recidivism rates in Arkansas and nationwide.”

“In West Virginia, we know how important it is to provide everyone with opportunities to succeed. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act is an important component of my efforts to reduce recidivism rates and increase public safety. When we invest in our communities and put in place strong reentry services and supports for people released from prisons and jails, we build stronger and safer communities,” said Congresswoman Miller. “The bill’s strengthened provisions around transitional housing services and substance abuse treatment will be instrumental in helping people in West Virginia and across the nation get back on the right path as they reenter their communities.”

“Second Chance reentry programs and services have reached hundreds of thousands of individuals and families across the country, creating healthier families and safer communities,” said Congressman Davis. “Continuing to invest in these evidenced-based interventions is a commonsense approach to strengthen individuals, re-build families, and grow our economy.”

“The Second Chance Act provides an invaluable safety net for those returning to society. Recently incarcerated individuals require a number of stabilizing services and opportunities to get their life back on the right track. We have the evidence and tools at our disposal to reduce recidivism and encourage successful reentry, and we know that the programs funded through the Second Chance Act work. I thank my colleagues for joining this bipartisan effort with me,” said Congressman Scott.

“For 15 years, the Second Chance Act has supported communities by improving the re-entry process from incarceration back into society,” said Rep. Armstrong. “As a former criminal defense attorney, I saw firsthand how the program reduced recidivism to make these communities safer and lowered costs to taxpayers. It requires constant communication between parole and law enforcement officers, family members, employers, and other entities. I am proud to join this crucial reauthorization so we can continue to build on the successes of the Second Chance Act and work to guarantee a safer system for all,” said Congressman Armstrong.

“The Second Chance Reauthorization Act bolsters support for people reentering society after incarceration, ensuring they have robust reentry services and a chance to lead honest, productive lives,” said Congressman Nadler.“I am honored to join my colleagues in affirming the transformative ability of second chances and empowering formerly incarcerated individuals who are striving to become valued contributors to our communities.”

“For far too long, the American criminal justice system has operated based on a misguided understanding of how to promote and achieve public safety.  As we continue to embrace and uplift the importance of providing critical reentry programming and services to help promote public safety and provide second chances to individuals returning to their homes and communities, I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing The Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2024. Research has long shown that punitive carceral environments which lack meaningful rehabilitative measures only further foster dangerous and unsafe outcomes for everyone within the walls of American jails and prisons including correctional staff.  Those conditions then contribute to increased rates of recidivism – putting communities outside prison walls at risk of harm.  Meaningful investment in rehabilitative re-entry services, the kinds of partnerships and opportunities made possible by the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, have been shown to reduce recidivism rates and make our communities safer.  Congress must continue expanding and shifting strategies - like the Second Chance Act - to advance public safety to ultimately reach our paramount goal of keeping our communities safe,” said Congresswoman Lee.

“Securing a steady job, housing, and reintegrating into a community after serving time is a challenge more than 70 million Americans face,” said Congressman Moore. “The Second Chance Act helps programs that assist these individuals with reentry and has been proven to reduce recidivism. I have seen the benefits of this legislation in my own district at J.F. Ingram State Technical College, where they offer 20 technical training programs for incarcerated adults including automotive repair, construction, cosmetics, and logistics.”


  • In 2008, the bipartisan Second Chance Act was signed into law. 
  • Since its enactment, Second Chance Act programs have supported states, local governments, tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations in their efforts to reduce recidivism.
  • To date, more than 442,000 justice-involved individuals have participated in reentry services through these programs.
  • The Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2024 will reauthorize programs from the Second Chance Act for an additional five years, allowing the government to continue making important investments across the U.S. to bolster reentry services and help individuals successfully reenter their communities after incarceration.

The Second Chance Reauthorization Act is supported by the American Jail Association, American Parole and Probation Association, Catholic Charities USA, Conservative Political Action Coalition, Correctional Leaders Association, Council of State Governments Justice Center, Major County Sheriffs of America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association of Counties, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, National District Attorneys Association, National League of Cities, Prison Fellowship, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Click here for the bill text.