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 Home > News & Policies > April 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 9, 2008

Fact Sheet: President Bush Signs Second Chance Act of 2007

     Fact sheet President Bush Signs H.R. 1593, the Second Chance Act of 2007

"America is the land of second chance, and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life."

– President George W. Bush, 2004 State of the Union Address

Today, President Bush signed into law the Second Chance Act of 2007. The Second Chance Act (H.R. 1593) will help transform lives and build safer communities by helping prisoners who are returning to society break cycles of crime and start new lives. The legislation formally authorizes key elements of the successful Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI), announced by the President in 2004, to help prisoners effectively reintegrate into the community. Additionally, the Second Chance Act enhances drug treatment, mentoring, and transitional services for ex-offenders through partnerships with local corrections agencies and faith-based and community organizations.

The Second Chance Act Formalizes The Prisoner Reentry Initiative.

In his 2004 State of the Union address, President Bush announced the PRI to help released inmates find work and make a fresh start in life after prison. Expanding upon the successful Ready4Work pilot program, PRI links returning adult nonviolent offenders with faith-based and community organizations that help them find work, connect with mentors, and avoid relapse into criminal activity.

  • PRI is yielding results for America's ex-offenders. In the first two years of the program, more than 12,800 offenders have enrolled in the prisoner reentry program. More than 7,900 offenders have been placed in jobs. Only 18 percent of those enrolled in the program have been arrested again within one year – less than half the estimated national average.

  • PRI is a signature program of the President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative. To meet the individual needs of recently released ex-offenders as they transition back to society, PRI connects these individuals with faith-based and other nonprofit organizations within their community.

  • PRI is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Labor (DOL) to help reduce recidivism in urban centers and other areas with the greatest need.
    • DOJ grants are awarded to State agencies for pre-release services to partner anti-recidivism efforts with those of faith-based and community organizations.
    • DOL funds are awarded to faith-based and community organizations that provide a variety of assistance to returning prisoners, including workforce development services, job training, counseling, and other reentry services.

  • The law signed today assists States and local government entities, in partnership with nonprofit organizations, to establish prisoner reentry demonstration projects. Demonstration projects include:
    • Education, vocational training, and job placement services
    • Coordinated supervision for offenders upon release, including housing and mental and physical health care
    • Programs that encourage offenders to develop safe, healthy, and responsible family and parent-child relationships

The Second Chance Act Extends The President's Vision For Ensuring Returning Prisoners Have The Opportunity to Start New Lives.

President Bush has championed prisoner reentry and other initiatives to transform lives and cut crime through programs like DOJ's Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) and Anti-Gang Initiative, DOL's Ready4Work program, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Mentoring Children of Prisoners program.

  • Along with delivering vital services, these programs advance innovation in reducing crime and breaking cycles of recidivism. By funding social entrepreneurs to expand prisoner reentry programs that couple efforts of corrections agencies and nonprofit organizations, the Administration is providing venture capital to build effective reentry models that can be replicated at the State and local level.

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