Washington, D.C.—Prison Fellowship®, the nation’s largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, released the following statement after President Biden declared April 2023 as Second Chance Month®.
“I applaud President Biden for issuing this proclamation and recognizing the arbitrary and unfair roadblocks that limit Americans who have paid their debt to society,” said James Ackerman, President and CEO of Prison Fellowship. “For the sixth consecutive year, the United States president has affirmed that American adults with a criminal record are more than their worst choices. Over 44,000 barriers to success face men and women with a criminal record—holding them back from thriving as safe and valued neighbors.”
“We believe it’s possible for people to rise from their broken past, make amends, and help restore the communities they once harmed,” said Heather Rice-Minus, Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Prison Fellowship. “We are honored that President Biden is commemorating Second Chance Month and celebrating the work of business, law enforcement, faith-based, civil rights, and bipartisan leaders who are shoring up pathways to good citizenship. This growing movement of second chances should embolden policymakers to unlock doors of opportunity and allow more Americans with a criminal record to have the freedom to pursue a new beginning.”
- President Biden’s proclamation builds on reentry initiatives from the administration and prior proclamations from 2022 and 2021, as well as the previous administration.
- In 2022, 26 states and the District of Columbia joined Prison Fellowship and over 700 organizations in proclaiming April as Second Chance Month, highlighting the barriers facing one in three American adults with a criminal record.
- Thanks to the leadership of Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the United States also passed Second Chance Month resolutions in 2017, 2018, 2021, and 2022.