Colleen Chien wrote an article published by Michigan Law Review titled “America’s Paper Prisons: The Second Chance Gap“.


“Over the last decade, dozens of states and the federal government have enacted “second chance” reforms that increase the eligibility of individuals arrested, charged, or convicted of crimes to shorten their sentences, clear their criminal records, and/or regain the right to vote. While much fanfare has accompanied the increasing availability of “second chances,” little attention has been paid to their delivery. This study introduces the concept of the “second chance gap,” which it defines as the difference between eligibility and delivery of second chance relief; explores its causes; and approximates its size in connection with several second chance laws and initiatives. Using administrative and other data, it finds that among a host of petition-based second chance opportunities, to shorten sentences, restore one’s vote, and clear one’s criminal convictions, only a small fraction (less than 10 percent) of those eligible for relief actually received it.”