Two Senate "Dear Colleague" letters are circulating supporting the Second Chance Act (deadline April 25) and the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (formerly referred to as MIOTCRA or the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act) with a deadline of April 25.
Be sure that your Senators signs on today!
Simply email or call your Senator's office and ask that he or she sign on to the following:
- Letter in support of $119 million (President's request) for the Second Chance Act
Distributed by Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)
Deadline: April 25
- Letter in support of the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program
Distributed by Senator Al Franken (MN)
Deadline: April 25
Call or email TODAY! And please circulate this information to other interested partners. (Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to find your Senator’s phone number or visit the Senate website.)
Additional Background Information
Second Chance Act
Please urge your legislators to sign onto a Senate “Dear Colleague” letter being circulated by Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) in support of the Second Chance Act (SCA). The letter urges the Appropriations Committee to provide the President's request of $119 million for SCA programs, which assist individuals who are returning to communities following incarceration and reduces costly rates of recidivism.
Originally signed into law in 2008, this funding is particularly important for people who were homeless before entering the criminal justice system because it can be used to fund housing and services in supportive housing. The Second Chance Act is very smart investment that benefits individuals, communities and society as a whole as recidivism rates decline.
Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (formerly MIOTCRA)
Large numbers of people with serious mental illnesses and histories of homelessness are caught in the criminal justice system. Jails and prisons are ill equipped to treat and rehabilitate people with mental illness, and they are often released into extremely precarious housing situations. The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program is the pending reauthorization of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA), which has been an important solution for those who overlap between the mental health and criminal justice system. Please ask your Senators to sign onto a “Dear Colleague” letter asking for reauthorizing of this critical program. NOTE: The letter does not request a specific funding amount, but rather that funding simply be continued.
CSH is hopeful that reauthorization of this program will include a demonstration program to assist people who are frequent users of criminal justice, health care and homeless systems. Should the reauthorization pass, the funding requested in this letter will be critical to bringing innovative housing and services solutions to this highly vulnerable population.