[The U.S. Senate] Designates April 2017 as Second Chance Month … Honors the work of communities, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations, congregations, employers, and individuals to remove unnecessary legal and societal barriers that prevent an individual with a criminal record from becoming a productive member of society. … Calls on the people of the United States to observe Second Chance Month through actions and programs that promote awareness of collateral consequences and provide closure for individuals who have paid their debts.”
2017 Senate Resolution Declaring April Second Chance Month
When does a prison sentence end? Is someone ever really "square" with society again after a criminal conviction?
These questions are at the heart of Second Chance Month, a nationwide campaign to celebrate the dignity and potential of those with a criminal record during April. While people on the inside are doing the work to be ready for a second chance, people on the outside are advocating for second chances. They are raising awareness of some of the obstacles people face when trying to rebuild their lives after a prison sentence. The coalition supporting Second Chance Month includes Prison Fellowship, the NAACP, the ACLU, and dozens of other groups.
SECOND CHANCES TO SUPPORT HUMAN DIGNITY
Last year, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution declaring April 2017 the first nationwide Second Chance Month. It was introduced by Sen. Robert Portman, a Republican from Ohio, and co-sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; and Richard Durbin, D-Ill.
Second Chance Month was also declared by the Colorado state legislature, the Maine state legislature, the governor of Michigan, and the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota.
In 2018, efforts are underway to get even more states and cities to declare Second Chance Month. Churches, organizations, and individuals are also getting involved, spreading a movement to enable citizens to succeed after they have paid their debt to society.
THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY
Some churches are hosting Second Chance Sundays during April, educating their members about returning citizens, and celebrating restoration and redemption. No matter what is in someone's past, the second chances that God offers through the Bible are for everyone.
There are also Second Chance Month job fairs, film screenings, and Second Chance 5K run/walk events. These events bring together people with a criminal history with other members of their community. There's even a virtual 5K that people can join from anywhere in the world, whether they are running on a treadmill or walking around their neighborhood.