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Senate Clears Second Chance Act

On March 11, the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, H.R. 1593, the Second Chance Act. The House passed the measure on November 13 (see The Source, 11/16/07).

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-OK) said, “A recent study found that children of prisoners are five times as likely to be incarcerated later in life as a child who has not had a parent incarcerated. Fifty-five percent of prisoners have children under the age of 18 and, tragically, more than 7 million children can claim a parent in prison, in jail, under parole, or under probation supervision…Parents play a vital role in the lives of their children and the role of incarcerated parents is no different. The children of individuals in our prison system often depend upon their incarcerated parent, at least in part, for financial support, and look to that parent for guidance in many aspects of their lives. Failing to address this very important facet of the family structure within the prison population could be contributing to the deterioration of families.” He added, “The bill also focuses on systematic changes within the criminal justice system by encouraging more coordination between government agencies, [and] encourages states and local governments to reevaluate their current statutes in order to streamline their budgets and provide for more effective transition programs for inmates, which include education, job training, life and family skills, programs for children of incarcerated parents, as well as substance abuse treatment.”

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