U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that their bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act, has been incorporated into the First Step Act, bipartisan legislation to reform America’s criminal justice system authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The Second Chance Reauthorization Act reauthorizes and amends the Second Chance Act, a law that supports state and local reentry programs to reduce recidivism. Then-Congressman Portman originally authored the Second Chance Act with the late-Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones in 2005, and it was later signed into law in 2008. Since 2009, more than 850 Second Chance Act grant awards have been made to government agencies and nonprofit organizations from 49 states for reentry programs serving adults and juveniles. As of June 2018, more than 164,000 individuals have participated in these programs. In total, Ohio has received more than $23 million in Second Chance Act grants since 2009, which includes funds to assist Ohioans re-entering the community with services such as job training, drug rehabilitation, case management and mental health treatment.
“I’m pleased that my legislation to reauthorize and strengthen the Second Chance Act has been incorporated into the bipartisan criminal justice reform bill. This important law helps break the cycle of incarceration through drug treatment and job training programs, and it helps former inmates live up to their God-given potential. It also makes our communities safer and saves taxpayer dollars,” Portman said. “This law has changed thousands of lives in Ohio and across the country showing that the mistakes of our past should not define the potential for our future. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the First Step Act so we can renew and strengthen the Second Chance Act and help more ex-offenders become productive members of our society.”