Second Chance Act Reauthorization Adds Support for Adult Education

Looking for a small federal policy win for adult literacy? Then I invite you to take a look at The Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2013, a bipartisan (!) bill recently introduced in both the House and the Senate containing language that appears to open up a Department of Justice grant program to adult education/literacy providers by making it explicit that such services qualify.

Signed into law on April 9, 2008, the Second Chance Act (P.L. 110-199) authorizes federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations that provide support strategies and services designed to reduce recidivism. There are two grant programs associated with this legislation, both administered by the Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Assistance awards Second Chance Act grants serving adults, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention awards grants serving youth returning from the juvenile correction facilities.

Last November, a bill to reauthorize the Act (S. 1690) was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Leahy (D-VT), along with an identical bill in the House (H.R. 3465), introduced by Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Rep. Davis (D-IL).

The reauthorization bill(s) offer more explicit language regarding the types of transitional services that may be provided by grantees funded under this grant program. It explicitly identifies education and literacy as one of the transitional services that may be provided by grantees. I know zippo about how/why this language got in there, but if the bill passes with this provision intact, it seems to me it presents an interesting opportunity for adult education providers.

The document below (click on it for a PDF) highlights the pertinent section. The new language is in bold.

Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2013