Donald Trump proclaims 'Second Chance Month' for prisoners to 'reach God-given potential'

President Donald Trump has proclaimed April as "Second Chance Month" for individuals with criminal and prison records to be given opportunities - a second chance - to become productive members of society.

April is Second Chance Month, which recognizes prisoners who have turned their life around.REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin (Illinois) and Republican Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) sponsored the resolution to declare April 2017 as "Second Chance Month." 

"This month, we celebrate those who have exited the prison system and successfully reentered society," Trump stated in his proclamation. "We encourage expanded opportunities for those who have worked to overcome bad decisions earlier in life and emphasize our belief in second chances for all who are willing to work hard to turn their lives around."

Following the announcement, Prison Fellowship lauded Trump for giving attention to prisoners and their families. James Ackerman, the president and CEO of the largest Christian non-profit organization that has been helping prisoners, cited Trump's decision as a "bold move."

Ackerman said over 135 other organizations will benefit from the president's acknowledgment of prisoners, who often face challenges, prejudices and stereotypes because of their criminal records.

Currently, Prison Fellowship seeks to help Americans who have criminal records find their way back to society through education, jobs, housing and other basic needs.

"This proclamation gives us hope in our work to help people with a criminal record reach their God-given potential in life," Craig DeRoche, the senior vice president at Prison Fellowship also said.

Prison Fellowship, which evangelist Chuck Colson founded nearly 40 years ago, helps link convicts to churches once they get out. Some former convicts who have successfully regained their second chance in life have said that they needed to find a sense of community to get themselves back on track and such an environment of support is ripe in churches.