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President Obama, long an advocate for closing the revolving door of felon release and reincarceration…needs your help
In his new preliminary budget for 2010 President Obama requested $109 million for prisoner reentry programs, including $75 million for Second Chance Act programs. As the media is currently reporting the Democratic congress has taken a carving knife to his budget proposal.
The President in response, has went on an unprecedented media campaign to generate public support…appearing on everything from 60 minutes to ESPN. He’s asking you the American public to contact your local congressperson and demand their support for full funding of his 2010 budget.
The Second Chance Act of 2007: Community Safety Through Recidivism Prevention is federal legislation designed to ensure the safe and successful return of prisoners to the community. The main purpose of the Act is to reform prior legislation to include reauthorization and expansion of provisions for assistance to offenders being released from prison.
Additionally, the Act provides for the expansion of state and local reentry projects in order to provide expanded services to offenders and their families for reentry into society, as well as the necessary services to remain productive members of society.
Each year, as approximately 650,000 people are released from state and federal prisons., They struggle with substance abuse, lack of adequate education and job skills, and mental health issues. A large number of these people return to prison within three years of their release due to inadequate rehabilitation/social services and job opportunities.
The second Chance Act will address these barriers with additional government funding for programs that ease prisoners' transition back into society-programs that include job placement and housing assistance, counseling and drug treatment services.
There are more than 1.5 million people in state or federal prison. Prison populations have swelled since the early 1970s, and now offenders are returning to their neighborhoods at a rate of more than 1,400 per day. That is the largest single exodus of ex-convicts in American history.
A national reentry working group is leading the effort to secure funding for the Second Chance Act for 2010 (see www.reentrypolicy.org). The working group is circulating a letter asking Congress to provide at least $75 million for Second Chance Act programs. They also offer a full toolkit for recidivism program grant applications.
We need to support our President in his efforts to address the needs of our communities. Please contact your governmental representative (Fed, State, City), and local media, to inform them of the need in your community for Second Chance Act programs.
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