Saturday, November 29, 2008

Second Chance Act

One of the major problems with so many of the over-designed reentry and rehabilitation programs is that they wind up providing more governmentally funded services to criminals than those received by non-criminals; an objection of significant merit.

The simple design of the Lampstand reentry program revolves around the concept that the single most important progress to be made in reentry—rather than the provision of an array of services unavailable to anyone else—is for the criminal to make the internal decision, helped by a reformed criminal trained and educated to provide comprehensive mentoring, to live a crime-free life and at that point, the reentering criminal should have the same access (no more and no less) to government funded programs as anyone else.

This article on the Second Chance Act remarks on that issue.

An excerpt.

“With correctional facilities around the country teeming with repeat offenders, state and local officials are hoping the Second Chance Act — a federal law signed by President Bush in April to help keep former prisoners from committing new crimes — will be a priority under the incoming Obama administration.

“The act, which Congress approved with widespread bipartisan support, authorizes $165 million in annual grants to states, localities, nonprofits and religious groups to build programs that help current and ex-offenders find jobs and housing, overcome drug and alcohol addictions, receive mentoring and return to society as law-abiding residents….

“Meanwhile, there is some hand-wringing among supporters of the Second Chance Act over whether Congress will appropriate funds for ex-offenders at a time when other interests — from Wall Street to the auto industry — are pressing for emergency federal assistance. Indeed, some Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives opposed the Second Chance Act because, they said, it places former prisoners too high on the priority list.

“This bill would provide more benefits to felons than are available to those risking their lives in the service of the United States military,” U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a former judge, said while the Second Chance Act was being debated in the House of Representatives last year.”