Announcing the Launch of Safe Streets & Second Chances

Through Partnerships Between States, Academic and Private Organizations, Safe Streets & Second Chances Aims to Protect America’s Communities by Rehabilitating Incarcerated Individuals

Washington, D.C. – Today, a new initiative is being launched to reduce the high rate of recidivism by effectively rehabilitating and equipping incarcerated individuals with the tools they need to return home and become productive members of our communities. Called Safe Streets & Second Chances, the new effort uses proven approaches underpinned by academic research to develop comprehensive reentry activities for those releasing from prison to ensure they are successful once home in our communities.

Nearly 700,000 Americans will be released from prison this year, yet close to 70 percent of them are expected to return to prison within five years. This alarmingly high rate of recidivism endangers America’s communities, traps individuals – many of them non-violent offenders – in a cycle of incarceration, and costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year. It’s a problem largely due to criminal justice policies that focus on punishment, but too often fail to implement effective interventions that correct people both in prison and upon release.

Safe Streets & Second Chances takes an evidence-driven approach to the chronic issues of recidivism. This initiative crafts individualized reentry approaches informed by the latest academic research to shift the outcome focus of our criminal justice system from whether individuals are punished to whether they are improved, rehabilitated, and capable of redemption.

Led by author and renowned scholar Dr. Carrie Pettus-Davis, the research component of the new effort will include a four-state, eight-site, randomized controlled trial involving more than 1,000 participants in a mix of urban and rural communities. The four states being examined include Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and Louisiana.

The launch of Safe Streets & Second Chances comes after President Donald Trump voiced support for prison reform and programs that reduce recidivism during an event at the White House earlier this month.

“The vast majority of incarcerated individuals will be released at some point and often struggle to become self-sufficient one they exit the correctional system,” the president said. “We have a great interest in helping them turn their lives around, get a second chance and make our communities safe.”

Safe Streets & Second Chances is led by the following advisers

  • Mark V. Holden, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Koch Industries, Inc., Chairman of Safe Streets & Second Chances
  • Carrie Pettus-Davis, Author and Incoming Associate Professor, The Florida State University, Principal Researcher of Safe Streets & Second Chances
  • Brooke Rollins, President & CEO, The Texas Public Policy Foundation
  • Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President and CEO, Society for Human Resource Management
  • Doug Deason, President, The Deason Foundation
  • Paula White-Cain, Senior Pastor, New Destiny Christian Center Senior
  • John Koufos, Executive Director, Safe Streets & Second Chances, former Executive Director of the New Jersey Reentry Corporation, and current Right on Crime National Director of Reentry Initiatives
  • Jenny Kim, Deputy General Counsel – Political Law and Vice President, Public Policy for Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

Leaders of Safe Streets & Second Chances issued the following statements:

“Over 95 percent of people who are incarcerated will eventually be released, so it’s in everyone’s best interests to make sure that these individuals are better when they leave prison than before they went in,” said Koch Industries Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mark Holden. “The vision of Safe Streets & Second Chances is that, rather than waiting until the end of an individual’s sentence, the reentry process should begin on day one. The states that have reformed their reentry policies over the past decade have shown that this data-driven approach keeps communities safe, reduces recidivism rates, and restores second chances to those who have paid their debt to society. Helping lead this transformational initiative is a tremendous honor and we’re grateful for the opportunity to improve the criminal justice system through science-based solutions that are proven to work.”

“This unique initiative marries research-driven policy and reentry services reforms,” said Dr. Carrie Pettus-Davis, incoming associate professor at The Florida State University and principal researcher of Safe Streets & Second Chances. “Even though incarceration and reentry impacts millions of people’s lives in our country, there is a huge void in research on creating a successful transition of people from prison back home to our communities. We’re closing the gap. Science is available to inform best practice approaches to reentry, and our model builds on existing academic work by enhancing the efficiency and impact of hundreds of thousands of organizations committed to successful reentry. These findings will deepen our understanding of how to keep individuals and communities both safe and thriving.”

“States like Texas have shown what’s possible when policymakers get smart on crime. Building on the great state-level work that has already taken place, Safe Streets & Second Chances will transform our country for the better by finding alternatives to the failed ‘lock ‘em up and throw away the key’ approach of the past,” said Texas Public Policy Foundation President Brooke Rollins. “Helping individuals transition back to society after their prison sentences have been completed is the best way to reduce crime, protect communities, and save taxpayers money. We are blessed to partner with advocates, scholars and other experts to improve public safety and transform millions of lives for the better.”

“America’s prisons too often fail to prepare incarcerated individuals to reintegrate back into society, which helps explain why more than six out of every ten ex-offenders wind up back behind bars,” said Safe Streets & Second Chances Executive Director John Koufos. “This astoundingly high recidivism rate burdens taxpayers, places an enormous strain on the law enforcement community, and robs millions of Americans – particularly non-violent individuals – of the chance to live a meaningful life and contribute to society in a positive way. Safe Streets & Second Chances is an evidence-based and fiscally responsible approach to prison reform that will reduce incarceration levels and heal individuals while increasing the safety of the communities they return to.”

To schedule an interview with a Safe Streets & Second Chances representative, please contact: S3Cpress@inpursuitof.com.