MARCH 30 in DC: Prison Fellowship’s ‘Second Chance Month’ to Get Congressional Nod

Felon, Justice Leaders Join Prison Fellowship to Announce Forthcoming Senate Resolution

In a surprise development, two U.S. senators took up Prison Fellowship's declaration of April 2017 as "Second Chance Month" with a plan to introduce the effort nationally as a resolution in their chamber in the coming days. Today, Prison Fellowship, joined by a felon who overcame barriers to become a successful business leader, as well as representatives from the NAACP, The Heritage Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union and Koch Industries Inc., will announce that Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., are following Prison Fellowship's lead to highlight the problems faced by the more than one in four American adults with a criminal record. 

For far too many who have served time behind bars, release from incarceration brings a new kind of prison: homelessness and poverty. Some 65 million Americans have a criminal record, which limits access to jobs, education, housing and other things necessary for a full and productive life. Any hope and new identity found while behind bars can be quickly lost upon release when faced with the "second prison"—the more than 48,000 documented social stigmas and legal restrictions that inhibit building full, productive lives after paying a debt to society. Such was the case for Casey Irwin, who struggled to find a job or a landlord willing to rent to her because of her felony record—contributing to a subsequent return to prison. 

But sentencing reform is gaining momentum in state legislatures and in Congress, bringing hope to people like Irwin who are still paying for a crime long after serving their time. Prison Fellowship, the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners and their families, is leading a bipartisan coalition to proclaim April 2017 as the first-ever "Second Chance Month," and urge state and federal policymakers to offer a resolution or issue a proclamation to spread "Second Chance Month" nationwide, as Senators Portman and Klobuchar plan to do. 

Today's conversation with Irwin and the bipartisan coalition will focus on how people with a past can still have a bright future, and their families and communities can benefit from their contributions.


  • Casey Irwin, formerly incarcerated woman from Minnesota
  • Craig DeRoche, Prison Fellowship
  • Ngozi Ndulue, NAACP
  • John Malcolm, The Heritage Foundation
  • Udi Ofer, ACLU
  • Mark Holden, Koch Industries Inc.
  • Barry Pollack, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

"Second Chance Month" press conference

Thursday, March 30, 10 – 10:30 a.m. ET

First Amendment Room, National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20045

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: Advance and on-site interviews are available with DeRoche, Irwin and others. Contact Scott Knuteson (770.317.0499) or Michelle Farmer (770.813.0000). On-site media contact: Jim Forbes, 304.780.5628.

About Prison Fellowship
Prison Fellowship is the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform. With 40 years of experience helping restore men and women behind bars, Prison Fellowship advocates for federal and state criminal justice reforms that transform those responsible for crime, validate victims and encourage communities to play a role in creating a safe, redemptive and just society.