Delegate Mark Keam - Virginia's 35th House District

Militia Chairman sends letter on Delegate Keam's bill

Delegate Keam's bill HB 1123 would require the Secretaries of Public Safety and Health and Human Resources to seek federal funds for cost-effective prison re-entry programs under the Second Chance Act. The idea behind this bill came from Delegate Keam's previous experience as a staff director of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's Corrections and Rehabilitations Subcommittee where he led a series of hearings that investigated prison conditions across the nation and our efforts to deal with ex-offenders returning to society.

The Second Chance Act is a federal grants program that provides funds to states and nonprofit groups that provide innovative and effective prison reentry programs. House Bill 1123 would provide a resource for Virginia to seek such federal funding.

The bill was referred to the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee where Delegate Keam serves. As the bill moved through the Subcommittee and full Committee, it became apparent to the Delegates that we could seek the goals of this legislation without having to actually enact this into law since Governor McDonnell and his Secretary of Public Safety agreed with its underlying purpose. Therefore, in lieu of moving HB 1123 this year, Chairman Beverly Sherwood, as Chair of the Militia Committee, agreed with Delegate Keam that she would send a letter to Public Safety Secretary Marla Decker requesting that her department explore potential funding sources to help develop reentry programs, including the Second Chance Act.

Secretary Decker has committed to working with Delegate Keam to accomplish these goals in the coming weeks and months, and Delegate Keam looks forward to working with the McDonnell Administration on this important policy initiative.

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