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Durbin, Capito, Booker Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Enhance Reentry Programs, Promote Public Safety

The Second Chance Reauthorization Act would build on the successes of Durbin’s landmark First Step Act to support formerly incarcerated people

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2024 to reauthorize critical reentry grant programs from the Second Chance Act of 2008, which was most recently reauthorized as part of Durbin’s First Step Act in 2018.

The legislation would reauthorize critical programs to reduce recidivism, invest in communities, and promote public safety, including services and supports for housing, career training, and treatment for substance use disorders and/or mental illness.

“The Second Chance Act is a proven, time-tested law that extends lifelines of opportunity and support to formerly incarcerated people. This legislation would build on those successes again, as it did when we last reauthorized it as part of my landmark First Step Act. We must continue investing in and advancing policies that curb recidivism and create opportunities, so our criminal justice system can live up to its ultimate mission: to rehabilitate and prepare people for successful reentry into society. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reauthorize this important law,” said Durbin.

“Over 95% of incarcerated people will be released at some point. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act will allow people reentering society to become successful and productive members of their communities. I am proud to introduce this legislation that will continue to provide resources to evidence-based programs that reduce recidivism rates and promote public safety,” said Capito.

“Ensuring that individuals reentering society after incarceration have the tools and support they need to successfully reintegrate is a crucial step in building safer communities. By offering hope, support, and opportunity to those seeking to rebuild their lives, we aim to break cycles of recidivism and create a pathway for individuals to positively contribute to their communities. Since 2008, we have seen firsthand the redemption and transformation that has taken place as a result of the Second Chance Act, and reauthorizing this legislation is essential to continue the progress we’ve witnessed thus far,” said Booker.

“Second Chance programs offer formerly incarcerated individuals the resources to build better lives and contribute to their communities. By reauthorizing investments in these reentry initiatives, we can reduce recidivism and improve lives,” said Cornyn.

“Community reentry grant programs from the Second Chance Act have been vital to reducing recidivism and fostering lasting change for individuals reentering society. These grant programs lend a helping hand to folks looking to rebuild their lives after incarceration by offering support and services for housing, employment, health care, and more,” Welch said. “Our bipartisan legislation builds on this progress by reauthorizing the Second Chance Act to invest in programs that promote community safety and help reduce recidivism.”

The Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2024 would:

  • Reauthorize key grant programs that provide vital services, supports, and resources for people reentering their communities after incarceration;
  • Expand allowable uses for supportive and transitional housing services for individuals reentering the community from prison and jail; and
  • Enhance addiction treatment services for individuals with substance use disorders, including peer recovery services, case management, and overdose prevention.

Since its passage 15 years ago, the Second Chance Act has supported states, local governments, tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations in their efforts to reduce recidivism. To date, over 1,100 Second Chance Act grants have reached more than 442,000 justice-involved individuals who participated in reentry services or parole and probation programs, totaling more than $600 million to states, local, and tribal governments, as well as reentry-focused nonprofit organizations.

In addition to Durbin, Capito, Booker, Cornyn, and Welch, this bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

In the House, U.S. Representatives Carol Miller (R-WV), Danny Davis (D-IL), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Bobby Scott (D-A), and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) introduced companion legislation.

Bill text is available here.

A full list of endorsing organizations is available here.