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May 20, 2008

NY Times editorial on Second Chance Act

Through this new editorial, the New York Times brings some needed attention to the new federal Second Chance Act.  Here are excerpts:

With prison costs soaring, many states are understandably desperate for ways to cut recidivism and increase the chances that newly released prisoners build viable lives.  The Second Chance Act, signed into law by President Bush last month, would galvanize the re-entry effort, providing the states with money and guidance. Now Congress must appropriate the promised dollars.

Some states are already leading the way. In Illinois — where the inmate population has doubled since the late 1980s — Gov. Rod Blagojevich has begun a promising re-entry program that could become a national model.  The comprehensive plan includes drug treatment, job training and placement and a variety of community-based initiatives designed to help newly released inmates forge successful postprison lives.  Illinois is also revamping its parole system by hiring more parole officers and changing regulations so that parolees who commit lesser violations are dealt with in their community — with counseling, drug treatment or more vigilant monitoring — rather than being reflexively sent back to prison....

A fully funded Second Chance Act would help other states develop their own much-needed re-entry programs.  The $330 million cost is a small price to pay to reduce prison populations and give more ex-offenders a better chance to make it on the outside.

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May 20, 2008 at 08:21 AM | Permalink

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