With more than 170 Second Chance partner organizations nationwide, and support from government leaders on both sides of the aisle, Prison Fellowship®'s second annual Second Chance Month was a success! Thank you for joining us to recognize that every person has dignity, potential, and a future beyond a criminal record.
So many great things happened this year. Check out the highlights!
PRESIDENT TRUMP PROCLAIMS APRIL 2018 AS SECOND CHANCE MONTH
On Good Friday, President Trump proclaimed April 2018 to be Second Chance Month. The president, who takes a conservative stance on law and order, had declared an interest in prison reform and creating opportunities to reduce recidivism during his State of the Union address in January. Meanwhile, progressive organizations like the ACLU have joined the movement for second chances. In the nation with the world's largest incarcerated population—2.2 million—prison reform and second chances have become issues championed on both sides of the aisle.
CELEBRATING SECOND CHANCES ACROSS THE NATION
ROAD TO SECOND CHANCES
On April 7, hundreds of people gathered at Anacostia Park in Washington, D.C., for a special prayer walk in honor of Second Chance Month and the 65 million Americans with a criminal record. Throughout the walk, former prisoners shared their stories about what life is like after prison, while local pastors led the crowd in prayer.
It wasn't that I needed a second chance because I was some moral, religious person. It was because I was a person, made in God's image, made to flourish."
Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile, Anacostia River Church
SECOND CHANCE JOB FAIR HELD IN HOUSTON
Prison Fellowship partnered with Houston-based Word of Restoration International Church to host the Second Chances Job Fair. Representatives from national corporations like Amazon and FedEx Ground, as well as local businesses like Posey Construction, came together to offer the formerly incarcerated of Houston a second chance at employment.
Just because [former prisoners] have a past, I don't think they should be robbed of the future that God has for them."
Pastor Charles Perry, Word of Restoration International Church
SECOND CHANCE 5KS IN MINNESOTA
Second Chance 5Ks are community events that bring people together inside and outside of prison to raise awareness of the many collateral consequences of a criminal conviction and catalyze real, significant change in public attitudes and policies. This year, 335 participated in the St. Paul Second Chance 5K, including community members and former prisoners. Meanwhile, 912 current prisoners ran for second chances at their correctional facilities.
Everyone deserves a second chance. Right now, people with a felony record—people with any sort of criminal record—have a really difficult time finding housing, employment, or getting an education. It's almost like serving a second prison sentence after you've already done your time."
Mayor Jacob Frey, (D-Minneapolis), First-Place Finisher
U.S. SENATE PASSES RESOLUTION NAMING APRIL 2018 AS SECOND CHANCE MONTH
Introduced by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the resolution continues Prison Fellowship's national effort to reduce barriers that keep formerly incarcerated Americans from successfully rejoining society.
The resolution "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."
Other sponsors of the bill include Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; and Gary Peters, D-Mich.
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING SECOND CHANCES
The collateral consequences that former prisoners face daily create a "second prison" that lasts long after they have paid their debt to society. Thank you for supporting second chances, working with us to tear down the walls of that second prison and the lies of social stigma—to truly offer a second chance.
Our nation has come a long way to break the stigma it holds against those with a criminal record, but we as a nation still have light years to go. I for one can say that the efforts made by Prison Fellowship to bring these issues to light are not only appreciated by many but appreciated by this man—a man that holds a criminal record. Thank you for all that you do."
Blake, Inside Journal® Reader, Currently Incarcerated
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