Second Chance has had in transforming the lives of former inmates is dramatically illustrated by the fact that in seven years 308 participants graduated from its programs having been employed for at least 12 months, and have a recidivism rate of less than 5% as compared to the average local rate of nearly 63%.
Of the original Second Chance graduating class, 21 out of 26 participants were still employed four years after their initial placements. Currently, Second Chance is the only established community-serving prisoner re-entry program in Shelby County. Over the life of the program approximately 1000, participants have been placed in jobs and a total of 3,393 releases have received referrals or services.
Services consist of employment-readiness training, job placement and intensive case management, including referrals for housing, health care, drug treatment and other ancillary services. Life coaching helps ease ex-offenders' reentry by providing both emotional and practical support which helps returnees navigate everyday barriers, such as finding a place to live, getting a driver's license or figuring out how to commute to work. Do they lack certain skills, need a GED, or simply need work?
If the funds were available for all returning offenders to participate in the Second Chance program possibly 95% would become productive members of society.