“Good Morning. Chairman Culbertson and Ranking Member Serrano, I am here today to advocate for a critical program that is reconnecting families and stabilizing communities; The Second Chance Act. The Second Chance Act, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law in April 2008, authorized $165 million for programs that has improved coordination of reentry services and policies at the state and local levels.
The SCA includes a program for Adult and Juvenile Offender State and Local Reentry Demonstration Projects, which improve coordination of reentry initiatives and implement evidence-based practices. In addition, the SCA also authorizes a program for Mentoring Grants to Nonprofit organizations, which provide mentoring and other transitional services to adult and juvenile offenders reentering the community.
At the end of 2014, federal, state, and local correctional facilities held more than 2.2 million people. This amounted to at least one in every 200 residents. Unfortunately, most individuals face numerous challenges when returning to the community from prison and research indicates that over half return to prison within three years of their release.
At least 95 percent of people incarcerated in state prisons will be released back to their communities at some point. Research suggests that, without support, more than two-thirds will be rearrested within three years of their release, and half will be re-incarcerated. However, when individuals returning from prison are able to access the services they need to rebuild their lives, the families and communities they return to are stronger and safer.
There have been more than 700 grants awarded in 49 states, allowing reentry programs to expand. Second Chance grantees have served more than 137,000 participants since 2009, with 83 percent of all adults served receiving mental health and/or substance use treatment services and referrals. Also, 60 percent of all adult participants have received cognitive-based services. Major Second Chance Act grant programs—including those awarded to community-based organizations—are prioritizing the use of grant dollars for independent program evaluations.
State and local governments and nonprofit organizations around the country have been eagerly launching innovative reentry programs, and families and communities are desperate to access the services the Second Chance Act provides.
Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, I am hopeful for full funding of the Second Chance Act and I look forward to working with you on this request. I also would like to submit to the record further information on the success of the SCA. Thank you.”