By Zach Schalk
October 14, 2010 9:41 AM
The Second Chance Act was signed into law in 2008 and it is being put to good use. The legislation was intended to make federal grants available to government agencies and non profits that would improve the chances for individuals to return successfully to their communities after incarceration. According to the Reentry Policy Council, $25 million in grants were given out in 2009 and an impressive $100 million in Second Chance Act grants has been doled out in 2010—with an additional $14 million given to the Federal Bureau of Prisons for reentry programs.
These are important funds that are paying for initiatives to improve education and careers training in both juvenile and adult prisons, to increase mentorship programs for re-entering youth and to increase the availability of substance abuse programs in our nation’s lock-ups. The list of potential Second Chance Act grants found on the National Reentry Resource Center Web Site is impressive and encouraging.
In Indiana, we’ve received nearly $1 million in grants supporting reentry initiatives. The Indiana Department of Corrections has received $732,398 in Second Chance Act grants which will be used to bolster the Aftercare for Indiana through Mentoring (AIM) Re-entry Academy in Marion County. $43,400 in other funds will be used to help improve programs that assist the re-entry process through greater family involvement in cases of mental illness or substance abuse.
Making sure that kids returning from juvie have a smooth transition back into the community is of the utmost importance. If kids are given the tools, resources and support they need, recidivism rates will remain low and kids who might have once been heading down the wrong path will be able to succeed as they mature. The juvenile justice system is about giving kids who may have made mistakes a chance to turn their lives around. The Second Chance Act is a great step in furthering this worthwhile goal.