The Minnesota Second Chance Coalition advocates for effective, just, and responsible laws, policies, and practices to ensure that those who have been involved in the criminal legal system can have meaningful second chances that create paths to achieve self-sufficiency and the opportunity to contribute to their communities to their full potential, and system-involved youth are not limited in their ability to become successful adults.
Are you a legislator, candidate, organization, or individual interested in connecting about state policies? Contact Andrea Palumbo (she/her), Legislative Affairs Committee Co Chairs at
Felony Murder Law Reform
Minnesota Second Chance Coalition believes that people should not be punished for the actions of another. However, because of Minnesota’s aiding and abetting felony murder doctrine, people can be punished for murder even when they didn’t kill anyone, nor even intend for another person to die. A recent study (report and executive summary linked on this page) shows that this doctrine is used to over-punish Black people and young people at disproportionate rates. We stand with Felony Murder Law Reform in calling for changes so that Minnesotans are only held accountable for the mistakes that they make, and not punished for the homicidal acts of another.
Clean Slate Bill
We at MNSCC know the impact of a criminal record and the impact on access to housing, employment, education and democracy. The Clean Slate bill would create provisions for juvenile and adult automatic expungements for eligible convictions. Automatic expungement, after a sentence has been served, would remove barriers that would pave the way for a healthy and productive life in community without the unclear and cumbersome process that deters those who would benefit from a second chance.
Second Chance Coalition also supports the following reform efforts:
The United States is the only nation that sentences people to die in prison for crimes committed before turning 18 years old. At the end of 2016, there were 2,310 people nationwide serving life-without-parole sentences for crimes committed before they could vote, buy cigarettes, or join the military. In 2017, the United States Supreme Court rendered invalid all youth life-without-parole sentences imposed by mandatory statute. While Minnesota has no laws that require someone to be sentenced to die in prison for a crime committed before turning 18 years old, it does still have laws that allow for such death-in-prison sentences. We support legislation that abolishes the possibility of life-without-parole sentences for crimes committed before the age of 18. MN Coalition for Youth Justice
MN Second Chance Coalition believes in the core values of repair as well as mutual accountability. From the MN Department of Corrections website, “The Minnesota Rehabilitation and Reinvestment Act (MRRA) would shift our focus from how much time people spend in prison, to how people spend their time. A person’s path to rejoining his or her community should begin on the day they start serving their sentence. The MRRA creates incentives for people in the custody of the Department of Corrections to participate in and make progress toward individualized goals they are deeply involved in setting when they start their time in prison. “
Contrary to widespread belief, Minnesotans do not regain the right to vote when they’ve finished serving their prison time. Only once they’ve finished lengthy periods of supervision, often decades in duration, can they participate in our democracy and teach their children civic responsibility. The Minnesota Second Chance Coalition believes that people working and paying taxes in their communities should be able to vote for their elected officials.
We support youth justice reform, in partnership with the MN Coalition for Youth Justice. Reforms include eliminating public hearings and records for youth ages 16 and 17 charged with a felony and raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 10 years old to 13 years old.
We work in partnership with MN Coalition For Youth Justice
Fines and fees from traffic and low level criminal violations strip assets from low income communities, especially communities of color. Individuals who lack the liquid assets to pay a ticket in full and on time experience an escalation of consequences, including late fees, collection fees, and driver’s license suspension, which can create a debt trap that may take years to escape.
We work together with Minnesota Asset Building Coalition
HF 3464 would establish the creation of a Clemency Review Commission with 3 members appointed each by the Governor, the Attorney General and Chief Justice. The Clemency Review Commission would review applications for pardons or commutations before they are considered by the Board of Pardons.
House File 2349: Minnesota Rehabilitation and Reinvestment Act established, earned incentive release and supervision abatement status provided, reports required, and money appropriated.
House File 3464: Clemency Review Commission established, and report required.
House File 876: Right to vote restored to individual convicted of a felony upon completion of any term of incarceration imposed and executed by a court for the offense.
House File 0922: Corrections; guidelines for use of restraint on juveniles established, general public excluded from delinquency hearings, juvenile arrest alternatives provided, and juvenile risk assessment provided.
House File 0947: Delinquent children and youth in detention facility visual inspection prohibited, delinquent children and youth in detention facility disciplinary room time prohibited, and delinquency and detention age raised to 13 years old.