By CSG Justice Center Staff
Congressional leaders in April took strong bipartisan action in support of three programs—the Second Chance Act (SCA), the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA), and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI)—aimed at increasing public safety and reducing recidivism at the local and state level.
- Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH), Danny Davis (D-IL), Mark Walker (R-NC), and John Conyers Jr (D-MI) gathered signatures from 92 members of the House in support of continued funding for SCA, which originally passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law in April 2008. Since its enactment, recipients of SCA grants have worked to improve outcomes for people returning to their communities from prisons and jails, providing vital services—including employment training and assistance, substance use treatment, education, housing, family programming, mentoring, victims support, and other services. The grants also support the improvement of corrections and supervision practices that aim to reduce recidivism. There have been more than 800 grants awarded in 49 states, allowing jurisdictions to develop, improve, and expand reentry programs and policies.
- Representatives Doug Collins (R-GA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) gathered signatures from 68 members of the House in support of continued funding for MIOTCRA, which created the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program and seeks to improve access to treatment for people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system. The law funds mental health courts, mental health and substance-use treatment for people in the criminal justice system, community reentry services, and local law enforcement training to help officers identify and improve their response to people with mental illnesses. The program was recently reauthorized as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.
- Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Tom Marino (R-PA) gathered signatures from 52 members of the House in support of continued funding for JRI, a data-driven approach that helps states reduce corrections and related criminal justice spending and reinvest savings in strategies that improve public safety. By managing criminal justice populations more cost-effectively through justice reinvestment, states have reported saving and averting costs of $1.1 billion, while investing hundreds of millions to improve community supervision and expand treatment programs that help make communities safer.