Each year, more than 600,000 individuals return to society after serving time in federal and state prisons, and another 11.4 million individuals cycle through local jails. Nearly a quarter of Americans has had some sort of encounter with the criminal justice system – mostly for relatively minor, non-violent offenses, and sometimes from decades in the past.
But whether an arrest occurred recently or long ago, individuals with criminal records, and particularly recently-incarcerated individuals, face serious and complex obstacles to successful reentry. The long-term impact of a criminal record prevents many motivated people from obtaining employment, housing, higher education, and credit – and these barriers affect returning individuals even if they have turned their lives around and are unlikely to reoffend.
Ultimately, these barriers can contribute to a cycle of incarceration that makes it difficult for even the most well-intentioned individuals to stay on the right path and stay out of the criminal justice system.
Congress can help turn the tide against recidivism by reauthorizing the Second Chance Act, S. 1513 and H.R. 3406. This legislation would continue vital programs that help provide employment services and job training to those returning from incarceration.
Please take just a couple moments to give a second chance by asking your Senators and US Representatives to cosponsor this legislation.
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