The Second Chance Act: A Step in the Right Direction
Derek “The Fallen One” Logue
March 15, 2008

What is the “Second Chance Act?”

The Second Chance Act of 2008, which passed this week, is a law designed specifically to address issues of
reintegrating criminal offenders of all types into the community upon completion of their sentence. Under the Act,
the corrections system will provide alternatives to incarceration for
certain offenders and provide treatment
(primarily in drug offenders, and just petty non-violent offenders), maintain the family ties affected by incarceration,
and perhaps most importantly, the establishment of comprehensive reintegration programs.

For years I have been stressing the need for successful reintegration programs; such programs benefit both the
individual offender and society. Jill Levenson has noted that “Housing, social stability, and employment have been
noted to be important factors in facilitating successful community re-entry for criminal offenders;” on the other hand,
“[t]he collateral consequences of community notification are important to investigate because they may potentially
exacerbate risk factors for recidivism such as lifestyle instability, negative moods, and lack of positive social
support” (Levenson, J., D’Amora, D., Hern, A. Megan’s Law and its Impact on Community Re-Entry for Sex
Offenders. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 25: 587-602[2007]).
We can only hope the US government
doesn’t wait for a generation of failed sex offender laws to incorporate this legislation for all released
sex offenders.

Summary of the Second Chance Act

Title I—Amendments Related to the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act

  • Subtitle A: Improving existing programs
  • Sec. 101: Expands and improves existing programs, including re-entry, mentoring, job training, and
    halfway houses
  • Sec. 102: Provides aftercare for continued drug treatment after prison
  • Subtitle B: New and innovative re-entry programs
  • Sec. 111-112: Covers re-entry courts and task forces
  • Sec. 113-114: Treatment alternatives to prison for drug offenders
  • Sec. 115. Prison-Based Family Treatment Programs for Incarcerated Parents of Minor Children
  • Sec. 116: Grant program to evaluate correctional education
  • Subtitle C: Conforming amendments
  • Sec. 121: Truth in sentencing for violent offenders

Title II—Enhanced Drug Treatment and Mentoring Grant Programs

  • Part I: Drug Treatment
  • Sec. 201-203: Grants for drug treatment programs
  • Sec. 204-205: Use of pharmacological treatment of drug withdrawal symptoms
  • Subtitle B: Job Training Grants (Sec. 211)
  • Subtitle C: Mentoring grants issued by Bureau of Prisons (sec. 221-222)
  • Subtitle D: Administration of Justice reforms
  • Chapter 1: Improving Federal offender re-entry
  • Sec. 231: Comprehensive Federal re-entry program and incentives for inmates to participate
  • Sec. 232-235: Programs to assist inmates receive IDs and apply for government assistance such
    as Medicaid
  • Sec. 236: Programs to increase the hiring of former offenders
  • Sec. 237: Permits release of certain non-violent offenders after age 60
  • Chapter 2: Re-entry research: Researching ways to improve re-entry, probation/parole issues, public
    safety, and children of incarcerated parents (sec. 241-243)
  • Chapter 3: Correctional Reforms to Existing Law
  • Sec. 251-252: Allows Federal sentencing to “community control” and treatment
  • Sec. 253: Minimum standard of health care for re-entry
  • Sec. 254: Allows public and private agencies to assist in re-entry

Comprehensive Summary of H.R. 1593—the Second Chance Act of 2007.

PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

H.R. 1593, the ‘‘Second Chance Act of 2007,’’ is intended to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and help
State and local governments better address the growing population of ex-offenders returning to their communities.
The bill focuses on four areas: development and support of programs that provide alternatives to incarceration,
expansion of the availability of substance abuse treatment, strengthening families of ex-offenders, and the
expansion of comprehensive re-entry services.

SUMMARY

H.R. 1593 would authorize the appropriation of $181 million for each of fiscal years 2008 and 2009 for Department
of Justice (DOJ) grant programs to improve the treatment of inmates and to help offenders reenter communities
after they have served their prison sentences. H.R. 1593 also would authorize the appropriation of $10 million a
year for 2008 and 2009 for Bureau of Prisons (BOP) activities to prepare prisoners for successful reentry into the
community. In addition, the bill would authorize the appropriation of such sums as necessary for those two years for
DOJ to make grants to State and local prosecutors to develop drug-treatment programs for offenders that would
serve as alternatives to imprisonment. Assuming appropriation of the authorized and estimated amounts, CBO
estimates that implementing H.R. 1593 would cost about $400 million over the 2008–2012 period. Enacting the bill
would not affect direct spending or receipts. H.R. 1593 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates
as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal
governments.

BASIS OF ESTIMATE

CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1593 would cost about $400 million over the 2008–2012 period. For this
estimate, CBO assumes that the necessary amounts will be appropriated by the start of each fiscal year and that
spending will follow historical patterns for similar activities.

Programs for Offenders

H.R. 1593 would authorize the appropriation of $181 million for each of fiscal years 2008 and 2009 for DOJ to make
grants to State and local governments, territories, Indian tribes, and nonprofit organizations for programs to improve
the treatment of prisoners, including substance abuse services and educational activities, and assistance to
offenders after they have served their prison sentences.

BOP Programs

H.R. 1593 would authorize the appropriation of $5 million for each of the next two years for BOP to establish a
prisoner reentry program and revise reentry procedures already in place. The new program would provide
prisoners nearing the completion of their sentences with information about health and nutrition, finding employment,
money management, social skills, and the availability of Government resources. The bill also would authorize the
appropriation of $5 million a year for 2008 and 2009 for BOP to establish the Elderly Nonviolent Offender Pilot
Program. The program would allow certain nonviolent prisoners over 60 years of age to be placed in home
detention for the duration of their sentence
.
Grants to State and Local Prosecutors for Alternatives to Prison Programs

H.R. 1593 would authorize the appropriation of such sums as necessary for each of fiscal years 2008 and 2009 for
DOJ to make grants to State and local prosecutors to develop drug-treatment programs for offenders that would
serve as alternatives to imprisonment. Based on the funding provided in recent years for similar activities such as
the Drug Courts program, CBO estimates that this provision would require funding of $20 million in each year.

Other Programs

H.R. 1593 would direct the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics to prepare several
studies and reports, mostly on recidivism and other issues relating to the reentry of offenders into the community.
Based on the costs of similar activities, CBO estimates that it would cost $3 million in 2008 to carry out this provision.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL AND PRIVATE-SECTOR IMPACT

H.R. 1593 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA and would impose no
costs on State, local, or tribal governments. Assuming appropriation of authorized amounts, State, local, and tribal
governments would receive more that $350 million over the 2008–2012 period to provide services to certain criminal
offenders. Any costs to those governments would be incurred voluntarily as a condition of receiving Federal
assistance.

Title I—Amendments Related to the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act

SUBTITLE A—IMPROVEMENTS TO EXISTING PROGRAMS

Sec. 101. Reauthorization of Adult and Juvenile Offender State and Local Re-entry Demonstration Projects: The
reauthorization directs several improvements, including coordination among service providers, supervision services
and Re-entry Task Forces, and between State substance abuse agencies and criminal justice agencies. This
section also adds or revises requirements for the demonstration programs to include: strengthening of re-entry
services; use of mentors; structured post-release housing and transitional housing; continuity of health care
services; offering of a continuum of appropriate drug treatment services; collaboration and coordination among
community health care centers, corrections, and community corrections to ensure primary health care services,
education, training, and life skills training; collaboration with technical schools and colleges; providing literacy and
educational services; promoting family relationships and family support during reentry; identifying and removing
barriers to collaboration with child welfare agencies; expanding family-based treatment programs; conducting pre-
release assessments for re-entry services and monitoring of such services; use of validated assessment tools for
new re-entry services; encouraging payment of restitution; use of reentry courts; and assessing availability of
veterans benefits for offenders who qualify.
Sec. 102. Improvement of the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Offenders Program: This section
amends the authorizing language for the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program to require that
States provide aftercare services in order to be eligible for funding under the program. Such after-care programs
may include case management services and a full continuum of support services.

SUBTITLE B—NEW AND INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS TO IMPROVE OFFENDER RE-ENTRY SERVICES

Sec. 111. State and Local Re-entry Courts: This section authorizes the creation of State and Local Re-entry Courts,
similar to those established for non-violent drug offenders. Such courts would monitor offenders and provide them
with access to comprehensive re-entry services and programs.
Sec. 112. Grants for Comprehensive and Continuous Offender Reentry Task Forces
Sec. 113. Prosecution Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison Programs
Sec. 114. Grants for Family Substance Abuse Treatment Alternatives to Prison
Sec. 115. Prison-Based Family Treatment Programs for Incarcerated Parents of Minor Children
Sec. 116. Grant Program to Evaluate Educational Methods at Prisons, Jail, and Juvenile Facilities

SUBTITLE C—CONFORMING AMENDMENTS

Sec. 121. Use of Violent Offender Truth-In-Sentencing Grant Funding for Demonstration Project Activities: This
section authorizes use of violent offender truth-in-sentencing grant funding under Section 20102(a) of the Violent
Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 for Offender Re-Entry Demonstration Projects.

Title II—Enhanced Drug Treatment and Mentoring Grant Programs

PART I—DRUG TREATMENT

Sec. 201. Grants for Demonstration Drug Treatment Programs to Reduce Drug Use and Recidivism in Long-Term
Substance Abusers
Sec. 202. Grants for Demonstration Programs by Local Partnerships to Reduce Illegal Drug Demand by Providing
Drug Treatment: This section authorizes grants to local groups partnering for the purpose of developing ‘‘on
request’’ treatment programs and delivering treatment available through evidence-based models.
Sec. 203. Offender Drug Treatment Incentive Grants
Sec. 204. Ensuring Availability and Delivery of New Pharmacological Drug Treatment Services: Regards the use in
certain prescription meds to reduce withdrawal symptoms
Sec. 205. Study of Effectiveness of “Depot Naltrexone” for Heroin Addiction

SUBTITLE C—MENTORING

Sec. 221. Mentoring Grants to Nonprofit Organizations
Sec. 222. Bureau of Prisons Policy on Mentoring Contacts: This section directs the Bureau of Prisons to modify
policies to ensure continued assistance by mentors to offenders after release from prison.

SUBTITLE D—ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE REFORMS

CHAPTER 1—IMPROVING FEDERAL OFFENDER RE-ENTRY

Sec. 231. Federal Prisoner Re-entry Program: This section requires the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to
establish a comprehensive prisoner re-entry program. The program also may include incentives for prisoners to
participate in the reentry program.
Sec. 232. Identification and Release Assistance for Federal prisoners: Assists released inmates in obtaining ID
Sec. 233. Improved Re-entry Procedures for Federal Prisoners
Sec. 234. Duties of the Bureau of Prisons: This section requires the Bureau of Prisons to provide pre-release
planning procedures for prisoners to ensure eligibility for Federal and State benefits upon release (e.g. Social
Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or Veterans benefits); and to support parent-child relationships.
Sec. 235. Authorization of Appropriations for the Bureau of Prisons $5 Million
Sec. 236. Encouragement of Employment of Former Prisoners: This section requires the Attorney General, in
consultation with the Secretary of Labor, to implement programs to increase the hiring of prisoners, and to educate
potential employers of the existing benefits for hiring former prisoners.
Sec. 237. Elderly Non-Violent Offender Pilot Program: This section authorizes a new pilot program to permit release
of certain non-violent offenders over the age of 60, under certain conditions, in order to reduce prison overcrowding
and medical care expenses.

CHAPTER 2—RE-ENTRY RESEARCH

Sec. 241. Offender Re-entry Research: This section requires the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of
Justice Standards to conduct research on offender reentry issues.
Sec. 242. Grants to Study Parole or Post-Incarceration Supervision Violations and Revocations: This section
authorizes the Attorney general to award grants to States to evaluate parole and post-supervision procedures, the
effectiveness of procedures for resolving violations of parole and supervision conditions, and what standards or
procedures could be adopted to improve public safety.
Sec. 243. Addressing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents: Study to improve the safety and support of
children of incarcerated parents, and to maintain the parent-child relationship when the parent is incarcerated

CHAPTER 3—CORRECTIONAL REFORMS TO EXISTING LAW

Sec. 251. Clarification of Authority to Place Prisoner In Community Corrections: Gives the Bureau of Prisons
authority to send inmates to halfway houses, and removes the prohibition against Federal sentencing to community
corrections
Sec. 252. Residential Drug Abuse Program in Federal Prisons: This section amends Section 3621(e)(5)(A) of title
18, United States Code, to strike material and replace a course of individual and group activities and treatment
lasting at least 6 months in residential treatment apart from the general population.
Sec. 253. Medical Care for Prisoners: Minimum standard of health care to continue through re-entry period
Sec. 254. Contracting for Services for Post-Conviction Supervision Offenders: Allows the Bureau of Prisons to
contract public and private agencies to assist in re-entry services

These provisions are changes to the “OMNIBUS CRIME CONTROL AND SAFE STREETS ACT OF 1968;” and USC
Title 18 Part II Chapter 229, 232, and Part III, Chapter 303
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