Second Chance Act Reintroduced: Seminal Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

Apr 24, 2024

By NASW Staff

On April 16, 2024, the House of Representatives reintroduced a truly seminal bipartisan criminal justice reform bill called the Second Chance Act (SCA). This news of the reintroduction of SCA is more gratifying when we realize that it coincides with the act’s 16th anniversary.

This legislation, originally passed in 2008, came about through years of advocacy and activism from the criminal justice reform community– in collaboration with SCA’s Congressional champion, Danny Davis (D-IL).  As one of the core members of the criminal justice reform coalition that advocated for SCA from the beginning, NASW is particularly pleased that SCA has achieved many of its stated goals.

The Second Chance Act helps inmates re-enter society and lowers their chances of recidivism.

According to The Council of State Governments Justice Center, “since 2009, more than 800 Second Chance Act grant awards have been made to government agencies and nonprofits for reentry programming designed to provide services that can help reduce recidivism and increase public safety.”

Once re-introduced, the law will provide federal grants to nonprofits, and state and local governments that will help those who reenter society after incarceration. Not only will SCA lessen recidivism, it will improve the quality of life for the formerly incarcerated as they reenter the world, but increase public safety, too.

Once reauthorized, we are certain that SCA will continue to provide critical reentry services to communities across the country and help cultivate safer and healthier communities that it has offered for 16 years.

In any event, NASW will remain committed to SCA and to advocating for other reforms in the criminal legal system.