07.01.15

Peters Cosponsors Bill to Improve Public Safety and Reduce Recidivism

Second Chance Reauthorization Act Helps Improve Prisoner Reentry and Reduce Likelihood of Reoffending

 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced he is cosponsoring the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, which provides grants to state and local programs working to address recidivism and prisoner reentry in their communities.

“Too many offenders who have served their time end up back in prison, and we must break this cycle of incarceration,” said Senator Peters. “The Second Chance Act supports critical programs that help ex-offenders find housing and jobs so they can get a second chance at leading productive and successful lives. I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation that invests in proven ways to reduce recidivism and ensure that former prisoners have a pathway to a better life after they are released.”

Inmates who are released from prison face numerous challenges, including finding employment and housing and accessing mental health care and substance abuse treatment programs. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act provides grants for state and local programs using evidence-based practices that reduce recidivism, lead to better outcomes for former offenders released from prison and lower prison costs.

The legislation will help reduce incarceration costs by giving prison officials greater discretion in selecting inmates who no longer pose a safety risk and lowering the inmate age of eligibility from 65 to 60 for release to home detention. It will also allow nonprofit organizations to apply for Second Chance grants, providing opportunities for organizations using the best proven practices to reduce recidivism to apply for grants to support their programs and services.

Recidivism is an ongoing challenge for corrections systems in Michigan and across the country. The Bureau of Justice Statistics found in a 2005 national study that two-thirds of released prisoners were rearrested within three years of their release and three-quarters of released prisoners were rearrested within five years. Michigan’s recidivism rate is 31 percent, though it has declined by 10 percent between 2010 and 2014.

Michigan has received more than $4.6 million in Second Chance funding over the past five years for programs like Detroit Central City Community Mental Health Center’s Second Chance Project, the Valued Community Member Program and 2nd Chance Connections. Michigan spends nearly $2 billion on corrections annually, a larger share of its general fund budget goes to prisons than any other state.

Peters recently introduced the National Criminal Justice Commission Act to establish a National Criminal Justice Commission to review the criminal justice system from top to bottom and propose reforms to address the most pressing issues facing the nation’s criminal justice system in areas including policing, the juvenile justice and court systems, sentencing, prisons and prisoner reentry.

###