Portman’s bipartisan bill would help reduce recidivism

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced a bipartisan bill that would codify into law the U.S. Department of Labor’s Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) program, which provides funding for formerly incarcerated justice-involved youth, young adults and adults. 

“Providing reentry support services to vulnerable youth and young adults at risk of recidivism is vital to ensuring we give them a second chance at living up to their God-given potential,” Sen. Portman said.

The lawmaker on July 30 signed on as the lead cosponsor of the Reentry Employment Opportunities Act, S. 4387, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) to bolster reentry programs that provide workforce training and pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities to individuals transitioning from incarceration back into society. 

“I am proud to introduce the Reentry Employment Opportunities Act with Senator Peters, which authorizes this important grant program that has been a successful pilot program at the Department of Labor,” said Sen. Portman referring to the REO program. “This bipartisan legislation builds on my previous work to ensure that those reentering society have access to the skills training and jobs necessary to stay out of the criminal justice system and contribute to their communities.” 

Currently, the REO program operates as a pilot program authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, so it does not have a dedicated funding stream.

If enacted, S. 4387 would codify the program into law and provide it greater stability for the future, according to Sen. Portman’s office.

The bill has been endorsed by the National Action Network, the National Youth Employment Coalition, #Cut50, the Center for Law and Social Policy, and the Campaign for Youth Justice.