Second Chance Act

Signed into law in April 2008, the Second Chance Act (SCA) aims to enhance public safety by breaking the cycle of criminal recidivism and improving outcomes for people returning from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. 

The SCA authorizes the awarding of federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide reentry services and programs, including employment and housing assistance, victim support, and substance abuse treatment. 

Under the SCA, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) started funding offender reentry demonstration projects, and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) was directed to evaluate the effectiveness of BJA’s projects.

Since the passage of this important legislation and in collaboration with BJA, NIJ has supported two rigorous, independent evaluations of SCA adult offender reentry demonstration projects.