Since 2017, NACDL, Prison Fellowship, and a host of other national, state and grassroots organizations from around the country have recognized April as Second Chance Month, a time to raise awareness about the obstacles faced by between 70 million and 100 million – or as many as one in three Americans with a criminal record - and unlock opportunities for them to succeed. During Second Chance Month, NACDL will undertake a social media campaign highlighting the collateral consequences of a conviction including the need to challenge these permanent punishments that afflict those who have completed their sentence, as well as call attention to the need for second chance opportunities for those who are currently incarcerated. Individuals experiencing excessive, lengthy sentences deserve opportunities to gain a second chance at freedom.
On this page, you'll learn how you can help NACDL celebrate Second Chance Month. This includes a robust social media toolkit that can be utilized to help raise awareness, legislative actions, volunteer attorney opportunities, expungement clinics and much more!
Below are links to social media graphics and accompanying language related to restoration of rights for individuals with criminal records and second chances for those who are currently incarcerated. Make sure to tag NACDL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram when you share!
Watch NACDL partners and advocates reflect on 50 Years of Mass Incarceration and their work to promote second chances in their communities.
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Watch attorneys and clients paired through NACDL's Return to Freedom Project recount finding out that they had secured a second chance at freedom.
NACDL’s Legislative Action Center connects people directly with state and federal elected officials, allowing individuals to lend their voice to active criminal justice campaigns. Check the Action Center to support second chance related campaigns and other issues to advance criminal legal system reform.
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Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!
Criminal records can have significant collateral consequences, for decades after a conviction, that affect virtually every aspect of a person’s life including employment and licensing, education, public benefits, voting rights and even volunteer opportunities. Expungement, the legal process of removing a criminal record, including arrests and convictions, from the public record, offers an opportunity for individuals to receive a meaningful second chance.
NACDL is appreciative of its partnership with the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which helps to make these expungement clinics possible.
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Additionally, please share NACDL’s growing resource that allows individuals to search for expungement clinics across the country.
If you are interested in submitting an upcoming event for inclusion in the National Expungement Clinic Directory, complete the form below.
Systemic Juror Exclusion: How States Continue to Disenfranchise Prospective Jurors Through Improper Policy Implementation. On Thursday, April 27, 2023, NACDL hosted Systemic Juror Exclusion: How States Continue to Disenfranchise Prospective Jurors Through Improper Policy Implementation. The recognition of the benefits of diverse juries has spurred some states to take proactive steps, revisiting policies that disenfranchise people with felony convictions and prohibit them from serving on juries. But what happens when the policy shift is met with deficient implementation practices? In this webinar, featuring Professor James Binnall (Associate Professor of Law, Criminology, and Criminal Justice, California State University, Long Beach) and Attorney Will Snowden (Founder, The Juror Project), learn how California and Louisiana have made such changes, but may be continuing to exclude people with felony convictions because of deficient summonses as well as failure to notify prospective jurors of their eligibility. Co-sponsored by: The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
Unlocking the Jury Box: How Felony Disenfranchisement Contributes to America's Jury Diversity Problem. On Thursday, April 21st, 2022, NACDL hosted Unlocking the Jury Box: How Felony Disenfranchisement Contributes to America’s Jury Diversity Problem. This webinar tackled the impact of felony disenfranchisement laws on jury service, jury diversity, and the importance of representative juries. The discussion was moderated by NACDL’s Public Defense Counsel Monica Milton, and featured Naila Awan, Director of Advocacy at Prison Policy Initiative; Nina Chernoff, Professor at CUNY School of Law; and Sodiqa Williams, General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Supportive Reentry Division at Safer Foundation.
Legislating Freedom: The Importance of a Second Look: On Thursday, April 14th, 2022, NACDL and The Sentencing Project hosted Legislating Freedom: The Importance of a Second Look. This panel discussion delved into the country’s continued overreliance on incarceration and extreme sentences and legislative efforts to enacted 'Second Look' laws which provide individuals with an opportunity for resentencing or a sentence reduction after they have served a certain amount of time in prison.
Second Chance Stories: Returning to Freedom: On Thursday, March 31st at 2:30pm ET, NACDL ushered in Second Chance Month with Second Chance Stories: Returning to Freedom, a webinar during which recent clemency recipients and their attorneys, paired through NACDL’s Return to Freedom Projects, discussed the critical importance of second chances for incarcerated individuals. The discussion was be moderated by Return to Freedom Project Legal director John Albanes and will feature Sincere B. Allah, Clemency Recipient; Brendan O’Toole, Attorney at Williams Mullen; Chalana McFarland, Advocate; and Cynthia Roseberry, Deputy Director of Policy at the ACLU, Justice Division.
Race and the Criminal Legal System: Collateral Consequences: In April 2021, NACDL held a two-part discussion on race and collateral consequences as part of the ongoing Race and the Criminal Legal System Discussion Series. In Part I, panelists discussed how the collateral consequences of a conviction have become more numerous and severe, and how they disproportionately impact communities of color. In Part II of the discussion, panelists took a deep dive into how a past criminal conviction can impact an individual’s ability to participate in industries like the legal profession, the cannabis industry, and other business and entrepreneurship opportunities. Resources and speaker biographies for both webinars can be found on NACDL’s Race and the Criminal Legal System Discussion Series page, in addition to recordings of past webinars in the series exploring public defense and policing in relation to issues of race.
- "New York Will Give a ‘Clean Slate’ to Formerly Incarcerated People,"
- "Commentary: Voting rights restoration process lacks transparency,"
- "A Legal Fight Over Whether Governors Can Deny Thousands the Vote,"
- "No child belongs in a cage. Conditions at juvenile prisons make extreme violence inevitable,"
- "Virginia voter removals raise concerns among rights groups,"