On May 31, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) visited the Unity House in Delaware, Ohio, a new sober housing and re-entry center that opened earlier this month. Portman toured the facility and met with women currently in recovery to discuss the heroin and prescription drug epidemic and how he is working to help.
“Re-entering society after a stint in prison is tough for anyone, but it is especially difficult for those who are also overcoming an addiction. That’s where places like the Unity House come in – giving women who have served their time the resources and support they need to recover and reach their God-given potential,” said Portman. “The Second Chance Act supports the work of places like the Unity House through drug treatment and job training, and that makes our communities safer, saves taxpayer dollars, and most importantly, helps former inmates get the second chance they deserve. I will continue my bipartisan efforts to renew and strengthen this critical law, because the mistakes of our past don’t have to define the potential for our future.”
Portman, who is the author of the Second Chance Act, reauthorized his Second Chance Act legislation along with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). His resolution to designate April 2017 as “Second Chance Month” and honor those who work to remove unnecessary barriers that prevent those with a criminal record from becoming productive members of society passed the Senate. Last year, he spoke at the City Club of Cleveland on the importance of giving people in our communities a second chance at success.
Then-Congressman Portman originally authored the Second Chance Act with the late Cleveland Democrat Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and it was passed into law in 2008 (P.L. 110-199). April 8 marked the 9th anniversary of this law, which created:
- grants for state and local reentry courts;
- grants for drug treatment diversion programs;
- grants to expand substance-abuse programs for prisoners and ex-offenders; and
- grants to expand the use of career training programs and mentoring programs.
- This law also reauthorized the Adult and Juvenile State and Local Offender Reentry Demonstration Grant program.
Senator Portman, who is the author of the recently signed-into-law and bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), has helped lead the national effort to combat this epidemic that is devastating communities across Ohio and our country. Portman’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing on stopping illicit drugs from being shipped into the United States. During the hearing, he urged Congress to act on his bipartisan legislation called the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders.
He continues to tour the state meeting with those in recovery and those on the front lines dealing with this epidemic, including meeting with women in recovery at the Sojourner Recovery Services residential women’s facility in Eaton, Leadership, Compassion, Awareness, Dedication & Advocacy (LCADA) Way Women’s Center in Lorain, the Edna House in Cleveland, the Erin Helms Recovery Home in Lakewood, the Bassett House outside of Athens, and the Adena Pregnancy Center in Chillicothe.