Portman’s Second Chance Act Helps Former Prisoners Re-Enter Society 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), author of the Second Chance Act, introduced a resolution that would designate April 2017 as “Second Chance Month” and honor those who work to remove unnecessary barriers that prevent those with a criminal record from becoming productive members of society.

“With 95 percent of inmates set to be released one day and two-thirds of released inmates back behind bars within five years, too many Americans are caught up in a cycle of crime,” Portman said. “The Second Chance Act breaks that cycle through drug treatment and job training, and that makes our community safer, saves taxpayer dollars, and most importantly, helps former inmates live out their God-given potential. This law has changed thousands of lives in Ohio and across the country because the mistakes of our past don't have to define the potential for our future. And I will continue my bipartisan efforts to renew and strengthen this law.  I hope that we all can join together on a bipartisan basis during Second Chance Month and all year round to support those who are returning from prison and want a fair shot at living an honest and productive life.”

We applaud Senator Portman for his resolution declaring April as Second Chance Month. As America’s largest outreach to prisoners and their families, Prison Fellowship was founded on the conviction that every person has God-given dignity and potential. We join over 50 organizations in celebrating Second Chance Month this April to unlock brighter futures for the millions of Americans who have repaid their debt to society,” said Craig DeRoche, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy, Prison Fellowship.

NOTE: Portman continues his efforts to reauthorize the Second Chance Act along with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT).  Last year, he spoke at the City Club of Cleveland on the importance of giving people in our communities a second chance at success. Excerpts of his remarks are below and a full video of his remarks can be seen here

Then-Congressman Portman originally authored the Second Chance Act with the late Cleveland Democrat Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and it was passed into law in 2008 (P.L. 110-199). April 8 will mark the 9th anniversary of this law, which created:

  • grants for state and local reentry courts;
  • grants for drug treatment diversion programs;
  • grants to expand substance-abuse programs for prisoners and ex-offenders; and
  • grants to expand the use of career training programs and mentoring programs.

This law also reauthorized the Adult and Juvenile State and Local Offender Reentry Demonstration Grant program.