My name is Lorna Hogan and I am the mother of four children. I began self-medicating with drugs at the age of fourteen because it was the only way I knew how to cope with my underlying trauma. In December, 2000, I was arrested on a drug related charge, my children were placed with Child Protective Services and I was sent to jail. In jail, I received no treatment and when I was released I went back to doing the only thing I knew, which was using drugs.
But thanks to a family-based drug treatment program, like those funded by the Second Chance Act-- a federal initiative that supports people reentering communities after incarceration in order to prevent crime, I overcame my addiction. I had a therapist and parenting classes that gave me insight into how to be a better mother. As part of my treatment process my children and I were reunited and my children received therapeutic services so that they too could heal.
I am ten years in recovery and my children and I have been together for nine years. They are succeeding in school and I am a PTA mom. I serve as Associate Director of Rebecca Project's Sacred Authority, where I train and inspire other mothers like me to be leaders in their own communities.
My family is a whole, strong and loving family today because I was given a second chance.
See October 14th New York Times Editorial on this! http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/opinion/second-chances-after-prison.html?_r=2&ref=opinion
Unfortunately, programs like the one that helped me are in jeopardy. In September, the Senate Appropriations Committee zeroed-out funds for the bipartisan Second Chance Act. In the same legislation, the Committee increased funding for federal prisons by more than $300 million over last year to expand prison capacity. The Bureau of Prisons hopes to open seven new prisons over the next four years. This policy will continue a cycle of increasing incarceration and racial disparity that is very difficult to undo. It is important that Congress knows that building more prisons does not solve our crime problems and that resources should be invested in keeping people out of prison instead.
I am concerned about legislation approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations in September to fund Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. Specifically, the legislation increases funds for federal prisons, including new prison expansion, while cutting and/or eliminating programs proven to reduce incarceration and recidivism, support at-risk youth in leading law abiding lives, as well as save money on corrections. Rather than spending scarce federal funds on prison expansion, I urge you to support and fund programs that prevent crime and help keep people out of prison, such as those already authorized under the Second Chance Act.
Continuing this wasteful and counterproductive prison build-up contradicts criminological research about what works to prevent crime, and ignores the successful reforms happening in
corrections at the state level that have allowed systems facing similar crowding and fiscal pressures to reduce costs, reduce incarceration and protect public safety.
Instead of funding new prisons while cutting proven programs that divert people from prison and produce better community outcomes, Congress should take the sensible steps BOP itself has highlighted, such as extending good time credits for prisoners, and provide adequate funding for programs that can lead to a reduction in the number of people in prison overall.
I urge you to support funding the Second Chance Act at the House recommended level of $70 million and eliminating any new funds to expand prison capacity.