Correctional Ministries and
Chaplains Association

April is Second Chance Month

April is Second Chance Month

What is Second Chance Month?
In 2017, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution declaring April "Second Chance Month," A time to focus on giving those who have committed a crime, done their time, and released back into the community a second chance to be a productive and contributing citizen. 

Join CMCA in this movement to increase the awareness and offer practical steps the Church can take to bring the love of Christ to the 65 million Americans with a criminal record who experience limited access to jobs, education, housing, and other fundamental needs for a productive life.

Share with other CMCA members ways your ministry is promoting Second Chance month by emailing CMCA at info@cmcainternational.org or join the discussion on the CMCA facebook.

As you prepare to advance the cause of second chances, I want to remind you of a few ways you can get involved.  Prison Fellowship is spearheading a host of activities:  
IDEAS FOR EMBRACING SECOND CHANCE MONTH
 
Share ideas.  Share how your church or ministry is serving formerly incarcerated individuals and their families.  For example, The Institute for Prison Ministries offers the Colson Scholarship for those formerly incarcerated to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree from Wheaton College or a certificate through the Institute for Prison Ministries.  For more information, go to www.prisoninstitute.com

Pray for the Spiritual Battle.  Personal and systemic injustices are evil.  Pray for the spiritual battle in individual hearts to repent from prejudices and injustice.  Pray for unjust systems to be exposed and replaced with just systems.  Speak up for those who are vulnerable and marginalized.  See A Call to Faith in Action: Laments and Affirmations. 

Open Your Doors.  Churches host or offer space to recovery programs and support groups such as Celebrate Recovery, AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), and NA (Narcotics Anonymous).

Increase Awareness.  Invite formerly incarcerated persons to share their story, providing they have been in the free world for a year or more.  Provide educational opportunities at small group meetings, adult education classes, men’s and women’s groups, that create an understanding and encourage compassion and engagement. Resource: Reentry MythBusters are fact sheets designed to clarify existing federal policies that affect formerly incarcerated individuals and their families in areas such as public housing, employment, parental rights, Medicaid suspension/termination, voting rights and more.

Build Community Capacity.  Offer or direct people to trainings which build the capacity of communities to respond to the needs of formerly incarcerated persons.  Resource:  Life Coach Training Basics is for adults to journey alongside adults transitioning from incarceration back into the community. 

Rebuild and Restore.  Support individuals and families in rebuilding their lives.  Recommended resources:  “Released” (can be purchased via CMCA website) and the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated.


Support Criminal Justice Reform.  Support advocacy ministries and non-profits fighting for criminal justice reform such as Prison Fellowship, JUSTleadership, The Brennen Center (restoring voting rights).

Connect and Collaborate.  Join local ministries to inform, connect, and strengthen your efforts. 

Assist in Employment Opportunities.  Provide connections with employers and formerly incarcerated persons.  If an employer, hire people with a criminal record.  Educate employers on the Federal Bonding and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

Offer Friendship. Invite formerly incarcerated people over for dinner or to church and social events.
 

PRISON FELLOWSHIP has established a National Grassroots Call to Kickoff Second Chance Month – Thursday, March 29 at 6 p.m. ET