The mission of the Second Chance Center, Inc. (SCC) is to help formerly incarcerated people transition to lives of success and fulfillment.
More than 20,000 people are incarcerated in Colorado correctional facilities at an average cost of $35,895 per person per year. In 2017, an average of 800 people are released monthly with a majority of those returning to the Denver metro area. 49% return to custody within a three year period either because of technical violations of the terms of their release or less frequently because they are convicted of new crimes. Nationally the recidivism rate is 39%.
After spending almost 18 consecutive years in Colorado state prisons SCC founder Hassan A. Latif recognized that many standard approaches to preparing and helping people with re-entry do not result in sustainable success. His own path to transition gave him the conviction that there were alternative paths that could bring different and better results. Based on his own experience in the Colorado corrections system, his work in several Colorado organizations providing re-entry services, and his study of the re-entry process as it occurs throughout the United States, Mr. Latif founded the Second Chance Center in February 2012 to reduce recidivism by helping clients in the Denver metro area transition to lives of success and fulfillment.
In the first year of operation he worked from the 'mobile office' of his car, developing relationships with others working with re-entry through community agencies and various prisons and community corrections programs, and laying the philosophical and organizational groundwork for SCC. Based on his study and experience he wrote the book, "Never Going Back: 7 Steps to Staying Out of Prison" (2012) and developed an accompanying curriculum now used to train mentors through the U.S. Department of Labor and to supplement pre-release programming in prisons and community corrections facilities in Colorado and six other states.
Beginning in 2013, in active collaboration with the Aurora non-profit It Takes a Village and a larger collaboration of other organizations, SCC participated in two major federal grants funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and mediated through the Latino Coalition for Community Leadership. This funding enabled SCC to hire four regular and contract program staff, rent the current facilities, provide for initial administrative functions, and offer a significant level of client support and resourcing.
By December of 2014, SCC had grown significantly in the number of people served and the types of services provided. The organization had also secured a level of trust and confidence in the larger community that led to a new and historic venture. Based in part on the work of SCC volunteers and others in the field of criminal justice reform, legislation was passed and implemented in Colorado to devote a small but growing part of the re-entry budget of the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) to work on re-entry being done by community organizations. SCC received the first such grant. It provided major funding from the CDOC to this community based nonprofit staffed by formerly incarcerated people. In addition, the grant initiated a partnership including greatly expanded access by SCC staff in state correctional facilities as well as to vital CDOC information and direct referrals from the Colorado Division of Parole of women and men rated medium to high risk by the CDOC. Together these resources contribute to a more effectively integrated process of re-entry for clients.
By 2015, SCC had developed a strong board of directors and staff, a reputation for effectiveness, a broad array of collaborative relationships with government and non-profit agencies, and a solid track record of reducing recidivism by providing the support and resources needed by clients to make successful transitions. Movement into a new facility more than four times the size of the previous offices has enabled a major expansion of services.
In 2016, SCC has received positive community recognition from state and national media, expanded our services to clients, been represented in national arenas focused on reducing incarceration, drawn greater financial support form the larger community, and entered into a process for securing more stable resources for clients in housing and other areas.
2017, Clients who come to SCC seek and find critical life guidance through mentoring and education; job prep and placement; tangible resources for transportation, housing, and outfitting for work; and the hope and sense of belonging needed to make powerful life changes. Their low recidivism rate speaks to the effort and personal investment they make, each and every day, towards these goals. Quite simply, their success fuels our own. And it's your generous support that makes it possible for SCC to be that anchor of assistance and encouragement… and we thank you so much.