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Reps. Walker and Cárdenas Introduce Resolution to Designate April 2019 as "Second Chance Month"

March 11, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Representatives Mark Walker (R-N.C.) and Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) today introduced a resolution  expressing support for April 2019 to be recognized as Second Chance Month. A Senate companion bill is being introduced by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

"The American story is a history of second chances," Walker said. "From prison to prosperity, we must continue to restore families, heal communities, and help people find redemption. Second Chance Month will promote these opportunities and honor the nonprofit organizations and employers who are empowering individuals with life change." 

"America is a place of dreamers, second chances, and redemption. Millions of Americans in this country have criminal records, and those who have paid their dues and served their time deserve the opportunity to be contributing members of society,"
Cárdenas said. "In December, Congress passed the bipartisan First Step Act to help people in jails and prisons prepare for life in the community. With Second Chance Month, we look to shine a light on ways to unlock opportunities for those in search of new life." 

One in three American adults has a criminal record, which limits their access to education, jobs, housing, and other essentials. These barriers can lead our neighbors back into the cycle of crime. In fact, two-thirds of these individuals are re-arrested within three years of their release.

The Second Chance Month designation can contribute to increased public awareness about the impact of collateral consequences, the need for closure for those who have paid their debt, and opportunities for individuals, employers, congregations, and communities to extend a second chance.

People who have made mistakes can still have a bright future, and their communities can benefit from their contributions.

Walker was a key co-sponsor of the now signed into law First Step Act. In April 2018, Walker and Richmond penned an op-ed for The Hill calling on congressional leadership – of both parties – to dedicate the resources and afford criminal justice reform the national attention it deserves. The following month, the House passed the original version of the First Step Act.

Read the full text of the resolution here.