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Public Statements

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

The House in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 5326) making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes:

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to support the amendment by Congressman Davis to H.R. 5326, the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations bill to provide the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) with the resources it requested for Second Chance Act programs.

First, I want to thank Congressman Davis for offering this amendment. He is the champion of helping offenders reenter the community and our country is a better place because of Mr. Davis's efforts.

Second Chance Act programs provide employment assistance and job-skills training, substance abuse treatment, housing assistance, family-based programming, individual and group mentoring and victim support for offenders reentering their communities.

The Republican CJS Appropriations Bill shortchanges Second Chance Act programs by $10 million but provides $95 million more than DOJ requested for other programs. There is clearly money available to fully fund Second Chance Act programs.

We should be fully funding Second Chance Act programs because the number of individuals in prison and jails is at an all-time high. Federal and state corrections facilities held one of every 201 U.S. resident in 2010 or 1.6 million individuals.
These individuals will eventually come back into the community and Second Chance Act programs can help them with this transition so they do not end up back in prison.

Studies show that more than four in 10 offenders returned to state prison within three years of their release.

However, Second Chance Act programs have proved to help reduce this rate and we need to keep the momentum going by providing full funding in FY 13.
We need to do everything we can to help these individuals stay out of prison not only because it is the right thing to do but also because the cost of incarcerating people is ballooning. If current trajectories continue, state and federal prisons will grow by 13 percent by 2013, adding an additional 192,000 prisoners at a cost of $27.5 billion.

Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to support Mr. Davis's amendment.

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