John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera: The Importance of Restoring Those Who Have Served Their Time

Last year President Trump signed a proclamation declaring April to be “Second Chance Month.” In the declaration, he said “We celebrate those who have exited the prison system and successfully re-entered society.”

Then he added, “We encourage expanded opportunities for those who have worked to overcome bad decisions earlier in life and emphasize our belief in second chances for all who are willing to work hard to turn their lives around.”

If you’re thinking that this idea sounds, well, Christian, though recognizing a “Second Chance Month” is a recent phenomenon, the two ideas that it is based on come directly from the Christian vision of life and the world: redemption and restoration.

Second Chance Month is, in the words of Prison Fellowship, a “bipartisan national movement” to address what it calls the “second prison.”

“Second prison” refers to the hopelessness that often afflicts someone after being released from prison. For the sixty-five million Americans with some kind of criminal record, access to the kinds of things the rest of us take for granted can be a struggle.

There are by some estimates more than “48,000 collateral sanctions . . . not counting local laws enacted by municipalities,” that are applied to those who have served time. Collateral sanctions are sort of add-on punishments that put housing, employment, education, and “other things necessary for a full and productive life,” out of reach.

This is not only unjust—after all, these people have served their sentence—it’s counter-productive. As a Manhattan Institute study revealed, employment reduces the risk of recidivism among ex-prisoners. That’s not only good for ex-prisoners, it’s good for society.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera

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