Ohio Leaders Praise Portman’s Bipartisan Second Chance Act

December 18, 2018 | Portman Difference

 Today, the U.S. Senate passed Senator Portman’s bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and strengthen 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, and it was 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 – and Ohio has benefitted significantly.  As of June 2018, more than 164,000 individuals have participated in these programs. In total, Ohio has received more than $39 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. The legislation has been praised by several Ohio-based leaders, including the following: 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine: “I support the work that Senator Portman has been doing to promote the Second Chance Act, and it’s especially important to Ohio as we combat the opioid epidemic. By providing funding to increase resources, such as substance use disorder treatment, job training, mentorships, and mental health treatment for people who are leaving correctional institutions, we can increase their opportunities for success.”  

Stuart C. Hudson, Interim Director, Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Corrections: “Effective reentry programs are essential to helping individuals succeed post-incarceration and lead to a productive and crime-free lifestyle. This bipartisan effort represents an investment in strategies that will create safer communities in Ohio and across the country.” 

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer: “This grant funding will help individuals who have been released from prison so they can become productive members of society. It will reduce recidivism rates and lower our prison costs. By providing individuals a second chance, we can rebuild families and let individuals live the American dream. I would like to thank Senator Portman for his hard work on this important issue.” 

Paul Haffner, President and CEO, Lighthouse Youth & Family Services: “The grant we received as a result of the Second Chance Act helped Lighthouse holistically address the needs of young men returning to the community from juvenile detention. This included mental health care, substance abuse treatment, credentialing for in-demand jobs, and community engagement. Outcomes included reduced recidivism, achievement of specific life goals, and many young men maintaining long-term success.  Thank you Senator Portman for your tireless efforts to continue this crucial funding; it’s making a difference in our community and we look forward to continuing this positive momentum.” 

Burl S. Lemon, II, Executive Director, ForeverDads Center for Fathers & Families:The Second Chance Act grant awarded to Muskingum County is the result of the vision and vitality of a  group led by the Restored Citizens Network in collaboration with ForeverDads, along with a large number of community agencies and organizations. The opportunity to reset the course of life for 75 repeat offenders of our city and county jails is most needed.  From those with issues of poverty, mental illness and substance use, we will coordinate our reentry services, so they may experience successful transitions to independent living.”

Denise M. Robinson, President and CEO, Alvis: “As a recipient of Second Chance Act (SCA) grant funding and a provider of reentry services, Alvis has firsthand experience seeing how proud an individual becomes when s/he is a contributing member of the community. At a time when there are still more than 700,000 individuals who return to the community from prison each year, SCA’s reauthorization is essential for our nation’s future. We have the evidence showing the effectiveness of SCA programs. It is inconceivable that we would stop in the face of this success when there are still so many families and communities that will benefit from SCA.” 

David Stillwagon, CEO, Community Corrections Assoc.: “The Second Chance Act has helped countless individuals in an around the Youngstown, Ohio area.  As a halfway house provider working with individuals reintegrating from state and federal prison, Community Corrections Association, Inc. is supportive of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act introduced by Senators Portman and Leahy.   The resources provided through The Second Chance Act have not only impacted the lives of ex-offenders but have also had a profound impact on the individuals’ families by breaking the cycle of incarceration through recidivism reduction.” 

Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus: “Hamilton County’s partnership with the Federal Government through the 2010 Second Chance Act led to innovative solutions to improve public safety while also restoring lives.” 

Catherine Tijerina, Co-Executive Director, The RIDGE Project: “We are grateful for Senator Portman’s work with his bipartisan legislation known as the Second Chance Act. Thanks to this funding, we have had the privilege of helping young fathers, who are returning from prison, transform their lives. They returned home to their children ready to nurture and lead their families into futures full of hope and opportunity. Without this funding the RIDGE Project would not have been able to reach these struggling families.” 

Ruthann House, President/CEO, Great Lakes Community Action Partnership:  “Funding such as this helps reduce recidivism among youth offenders by giving young men and women real chances to grow and succeed in spite of their past. By offering youth a means of learning vocational skills, attaining education and training, and accessing supportive services, Second Chance Act funding supports programs that allow youth an opportunity to turn their lives around for the better.” 

Trina L. Jackson, Director, Hamilton County Office of Reentry: “The 2010 Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative Grant is making a difference in Hamilton County by providing funding for the creation of the Hamilton County Office of Reentry. The Office of Reentry began as a referral and support organization designed to address the immediate needs of returning citizens, but has grown to include programs that have a positive impact on behaviors that lead to recidivism. The Reentry office has employed evidence-based practices to reduce recidivism such as pre-release planning, training and employment, as well as partnerships to increase housing for returning citizens. We applaud and support the reintroduction of this bipartisan legislation and thank Senator Portman for his tireless efforts to continue this crucial funding.” 

Michael Daniels, Justice Policy Coordinator, Franklin County: “The Second Chance Act has been a critical piece of our overall Smart Justice strategy. Our first justice grant was an SCA grant to help retrain females returning from prison, and that project launched a series of conversations, partnerships, and initiatives that have enabled us to become a national leader in mental health diversion, addiction treatment, and second chance opportunities for justice involved residents.” 

Karen J. Scherra, Executive Director, Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board: “Grants opportunities like those through the Second Chance Act are essential to local communities, as they provide funds to implement new services that better meet the needs of our residents and a chance to prove the services will produce good outcomes, which then leads to sustainability with local dollars.  The grants we have received through the Second Chance Act both improved treatment resources for our community and enhanced the collaborative efforts between treatment and the criminal justice system.” 

Tom Luettke, President, Ohio Association of Local Reentry & Reentry Coordinator, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Lucas County: The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) in Lucas County Ohio supports Senator Portman’s Second Chance Act Reauthorization Act!  The CJCC has an established reentry committee that provides leadership on public policy, alignment and coordination of criminal justice systems and resources to support reentry efforts in Lucas County.  Leading local reentry efforts currently, the CJCC has been awarded three Second Chance Act reentry grants that have had a lasting impact in our community.  This funding has created opportunities to create and expand job training and mentoring programs in Lucas County.  We hope Congress will work swiftly to move this legislation to the President’s desk.”                                                                                                               

Mark McDaniel, Executive Director, Tri-County Board of Recovery and MH Services: “The reauthorization for Second Chance Act funding is needed for us to continue our critical priorities such as housing, linkage to treatment services, employment support, especially at a time when the opioid epidemic continues to hit our communities. I urge Congress to quickly pass this bipartisan legislation so we, along with the rest of our partners, can continue our work to reduce recidivism and expand the use of career training programs and mentoring programs.” 

Crystal L. Bryant, Esq., MS, LSW, Director of the Health and Human Services, Cuyahoga County Office of Reentry: “The Cuyahoga County Office of Reentry is forever grateful for the creation of Second Chance Act. Since the grants inception the Office has been fortunate to be funded for  three (3) Second Chance Awards. The first in 2011, the second in 2012, and more recently 2018. Those financial contributions from SCA allowed us to engage 308 returning citizens in 2011 through what was then the GCRIP program and 295 returning citizens in 2012. The transition model was highly impactful to those returning home. To date the Office sustains a scaled down version of the original program supporting those pre-release before transition back into the community by case planning and pre-linking prior to their return into society. In 2018, the Office hopes to have an even greater impact on the retuning community by transitioning into systems level reentry solutions. The goal is for returnees not to just return to Cuyahoga but to thrive and advance! I applaud Senator Portman’s work and his efforts to continue this important funding through the Second Chance Reauthorization Act. The reauthorization of this funding is critical to our work to reducing recidivism, expanding substance-abuse programs for prisoners and ex-offenders, and expanding the use of career training programs and mentoring programs. I hope Congress will work swiftly to pass this bipartisan legislation.”