Congressman Cárdenas introduces Second Chance Month, with more criminal justice legislation coming
As an elected official for over 20 years, I have made it a priority throughout my career to fix our criminal justice system so that more Americans can be set on a path to succeed. I am proud to announce that this year, my office has introduced legislation officially declaring April as Second Chance Month, and will soon release legislation aimed at reforming the broken criminal justice system in the United States.
Too often in this country, we lock people up and throw away the key. It’s no different for our nation’s young people, who thanks to cruel sentencing practices and unconstitutional fines and fees often find themselves trapped in a system where one mistake can rule your entire life. Now we have an opportunity to change this system for the better and shift the focus from punishment to rehabilitation.
At the end of last year, we passed the bipartisan First Step Act, the first major overhaul of the criminal justice system in decades. While I am proud to have been a part of this historic legislation, it was called the First Step Act for reason. If we want a justice system that is truly just, then both parties must continue in our efforts to protect and empower the Americans who have served their time and are working hard to rejoin society. It’s not enough to rest on our past success, we must instead fulfill our promise to the American people by passing reforms that help those that this system has cast away.
America is a country of second chances. Our children deserve to live in a world where you can change for the better, and not be defined by a single mistake. That is the world I am fighting for every day.