Monday, November 27, 2006

Sheriffs Want Second Chance Act

From the Tuscaloosa News

Robert D. “Bobby" Timmons
Executive Director
Alabama Sheriffs Association

Dear Editor: Open letter to U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions:

In this lame-duck session [of Congress] passage of the bipartisan Second Chance Act will be greatly appreciated by the Sheriffs of Alabama. This important piece of legislation will begin to reduce the nation’s high recidivism rates and lead to safer communities and fewer victims. I strongly urge you to support the Second Chance Act and do all you can to ensure this legislation passes.

Alabama [sheriffs] strongly support efforts which serve to improve correctional policies. The act will provide inmates with opportunities to acquire skills, knowledge, and mentoring contacts to make them productive citizens, less likely to engage in criminal activity, upon their release.

Your Alabama prison system has a substantial overcrowding problem -- the state’s prisons are currently at more than double their occupancy. Offenders are backlogged in county jails as they await transfer into the state system. We witness, firsthand, the exacerbation of Alabama’s overcrowding problem as an abundance of the released offenders return to the system shortly thereafter due to the lack of preparation for and assistance during the difficult reentry process.

The state’s recidivism rate is increasing. It will continue to increase if inmates are not provided with real-world training and rehabilitative programming that the Second Chance Act supports. The Sheriffs of Alabama have a vested interest in reversing this trend and preventing the mounting costs to local communities and the state’s criminal justice system.

I sincerely hope you will do all you can to see that the legislation passes.

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