Building Second Chances Through Reentry

Men holding hands in a support group

Every year in the United States, more than 400,000 people leave state and federal prison and return to their communities where they face significant barriers to reentry, like the inability to secure gainful employment or pursue education, housing insecurity, and the inability to access health and mental healthcare. Through the Second Chance Act (SCA) of 2007 and reauthorized under the 2018 First Step Act, organizations can support returning individuals and improve reentry outcomes in communities across the county.

The SCA helps local, state, and federal initiatives build upon important research and helps advance innovative policies and practices in reentry. Below are several ways AIR is supporting the field of reentry and ensuring that all individuals have an opportunity at a second chance.

Second Chance Month

Read our Q&A with Principal TA Consultant Caitlin Dawkins, who helped develop the concept of Second Chance Month with colleagues at Prison Fellowship.

Every April marks Second Chance Month, an opportunity to recognize the importance of second chances, why reentry is important for individuals and communities, and amplify what promising work is happening across the country to improve reentry outcomes.


Youth Reentry Technical Assistance Center

In honor of Second Chance Month 2024, YRTAC is offering a selection of briefs and podcasts, covering topics such as overcoming juvenile records, supporting LGBTQ+ youth after confinement, and the needs of Tribal youth. 

View the resources on our YRTAC page.

The Youth Reentry Technical Assistance Center (YRTAC) supports capacity building efforts among 50+ Second Chance Act Reentry grantees. Coaches work directly with grantees during their grant cycles to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for youth reentering their communities after their involvement in the youth justice system. 

YRTAC develops peer-to-peer learning activities and delivers events that focus on trauma-informed care, pre-release programming and skill development, post-release aftercare programming, community engagement, positive youth development, recidivism reduction strategies, family engagement, and public safety. 

Ascendium Distance Education in Prison Study

AIR is conducting case studies of six distance and correspondence-based Prison Education Programs (PEPs) to better understand how distance education addresses the needs of students who are incarcerated across their learner lifecycle. During this study, AIR will document which education technology vendors offer services to the program sites and describe what services they are providing. Finally, the study will examine service implementation and outcomes particularly around programmatic and instructional practices. 

National Reentry Resource Center

Operated by AIR from 2019-2023, the National Reentry Resource Center and the Corrections and Community Engagement Technical Assistance Center, both funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance, contributed to Second Chance Month through live learning events, videos, podcasts, and publications that promote strategies that strengthen the reentry field and enhance the work happening in corrections and communities.