5 Things to Know About The Second Chance Act

The Second Chance Act was reauthorized by President Trump when he signed The First Step

Act into law to reform the federal prison system. This law serves as the catalyst to

significant changes to federal sentencing laws as well as improvements to programs that

aim to reduce recidivism and provide support to federal inmates. The First Step Act

reauthorizes the Second Chance Act, building on legislation originally passed 10 years

ago. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2018, has increased funding to $100

million per year to establish and enhance state and local programs that promote successful

reentry for inmates returning to the community.

What does the Second Chance Act do?

The reauthorization of the Second Chance Act strengthens support for reentry and

addresses the complex needs inmates. Former inmates returning to their communities

from prison have unique and complex challenges. Successful reentry programming not only

addresses behaviors, but also provides services to help former inmates reintegrate into the

community. The reauthorization of The Second Chance Act utilizes several existing grant

programs to include support for a variety of services, such as housing, treatment for

substance addictions, and childcare.

The reauthorization of The Second Chance Act expands efforts to reduce substance

addiction among inmates. The Second Chance Act reauthorization provides support for

state and local reentry programs that target inmates with substance addictions. The bill also

establishes priority consideration for nonprofit organizations that have formed partnerships

with state and local agencies to develop programs that treat substance addiction in the

reentry population, as well as grants to residential substance addiction programs.

Second Chance Act reauthorization puts lessons learned about prison education into

practice. The previous Second Chance Act, of 2008, was focused primarily on supporting

research to identify best practices in correctional education programming. The

reauthorization act moves to put that research into practice. Funding will be dedicated to

examining and implementing the educational approaches proven to work best for the people


Second Chance Act reauthorization expands eligibility for grant programs who

provide reentry services. To ensure inmates are connected to the appropriate reentry

services, the act expands the types of entities that can receive funding to administer

programming. Under the reauthorization act, nonprofit organizations are now eligible to

receive Second Chance Act funding, and to provide career training and substance addiction


Second Chance Act reauthorization puts new accountability measures in place,

making sure tax dollars are spent responsibly. The second Chance Act reauthorization

will improve accountability in programs receiving federal funds. In addition to requiring

regular review of grant recipients, Second Chance Act reauthorization will also give priority

to applicants who work with an evaluator to ensure recidivism-reduction goals are practical.

Are you interested in how the Second Chance Act may impact your federal prison sentence?

Contact us to get information and support.