Ending Mass Incarceration

Providing Second Chances

America is a nation founded on the idea of second chances, yet we close doors that lead to a better life for a whole segment of the population. People with criminal convictions are stigmatized in the labor market and barred from specific jobs, unable to vote, and shut out of public housing.

But policies once rationalized as just desserts and good for public safety increasingly are viewed as counter-productive. Key arenas for creating second chances are in higher education and housing. What we’ve found: The payoff of bringing college back into prison, and using it as a sturdy bridge to support reentry. And that many people caught up in the justice system and then barred from public housing can live there safely with their families without compromising the safety of other residents—and that welcoming them is the smart thing to do.

Related Work

#SecondChanceMonth is an Opportunity to Examine What Happens After Incarceration–and Make It Better

Welcoming people who are formerly-incarcerated home into our communities and providing them access to opportunities is the smart thing to do. Not only does it make communities safer, it creates the potential for the kinds of individual transformation that can spur community renewal and change the economic trajectories of entire families. Join us as...

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  • Vera Staff
    Vera Staff
April 13, 2018
Blog Post

New Report Highlights California’s Success in Expanding Access to College for Incarcerated People

And Shows the Rest of the Country How It Can Be Done

Today, California has more in-person postsecondary education programs—offered in 34 out of the state’s 35 prisons—than any other state in the nation. CDCR is offering higher education to nearly 4,500 incarcerated students. Programs that meet students outside the prison walls have expanded in correlation to inside programs, as more people who starte...

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  • Heather Erwin
    Heather Erwin
April 04, 2018
Blog Post

Majority of Americans Say Voting Rights Should be Restored for People with Felony Convictions

Most Americans believe that people with conviction histories should have their voting rights restored as soon as they’ve completed their sentences, according to a new poll from YouGov/Huffington Post. A solid majority—63 percent—of those surveyed agreed that people with felony convictions should not be permanently barred from voting. This consensus...

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  • Karina Schroeder
    Karina Schroeder
March 22, 2018
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First Lady of NYC Announces $6 Million Plan to Break the Cycle of Incarceration for Women at Rikers

Today, the First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray, announced a $6 million plan to help reduce the population of incarcerated women in the city. The proposal will provide much-needed support to NYC’s incarcerated women by improving the frequency of family visits, building access to mental health services, and providing programs such as career ...

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  • Vera Staff
    Vera Staff
February 01, 2018
Blog Post

More States Are Restoring Voting Rights for Formerly Incarcerated People, and That’s a Very Good Thing

Not only is the restoration of voting rights a benefit to our democracy, it's also a benefit to those who are personally impacted. While community support is essential to a person's successful reentry after incarceration, this support is—in large part—dependent on a person's ability to engage in their community in the first place. One of the most e...

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  • Karina Schroeder
    Karina Schroeder
  • Kevin  Keenan
    Kevin Keenan
November 06, 2017
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