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Children who are incarcerated are at risk of physical and psychological abuse, sexual assault, suicide and other harms, including inadequate educational instruction. The use of solitary confinement further deprives them of social interaction, mental stimulation and key services during a critical time of adolescent brain development.

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Young people leaving the juvenile justice system are up against many obstacles as they seek to reintegrate into society. Many return to unstable homes, struggle to stay in school, and lack the skills needed for employment—all factors that increase the likelihood of re-arrest or re-incarceration.

Re-entry programs and resources are critical in improving young people’s odds of success when re-entering their community and in preventing a lifelong cycle of recidivism in the adult criminal justice system. Similarly, preventative programming can help steer at-risk youth away from criminal activity and toward a more positive and productive future.

In 2018, 728,280 children were arrested in the U.S. Despite a 63 percent reduction in child arrests between 2009 and 2018, a child or teen was still arrested every 43 seconds.[1]

Although the number of children in the juvenile justice system has been cut in half since 2007, 43,580 children and youth were held in residential placement on a given night in 2017. Nearly 2 in 3 were placed in the most restrictive facilities.[2]

In Illinois, a study showed that 86% of youth were re-arrested within three years of release from the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. [3]




2nd Opportunity’s programming is catered to men and women inside jails and prisons preparing for release, as well as those on the outside who are formerly incarcerated and struggling to gain traction.

The courses aim to build your dignity and self-worth while empowering you to improve your life. Whether you believe it yet or not, you already have the inherent abilities and talent you need to create the kind of life you want and deserve.

Our program presenters – men and women with lived experience themselves – are here just to be your guide, helping you build (or rebuild) your confidence, providing resources and referrals to get back on your feet, and arming you with the skills and tools you need to become a working, self-sufficient member of society—and stay that way.


We recommend that you take our three courses in the sequence presented below. Because we believe the content is so valuable and don’t want you to miss any of it, we offer a discounted rate when you sign up for the three-course program bundle. Here’s what to expect for each:



A program designed for those who are re-entering society after being released from jail or prison. The most comprehensive of our three courses, A Path Forward© includes two hours of video instruction, a 42-page workbook, and activities and quizzes to reinforce the material covered.

Your program presenter will guide you through:

  • Examining trauma and its impact on your behavior

  • Understanding the essential concepts and challenges of starting over

  • Defining what success means to you and what really matters in your life

  • Crafting your story and talking about your background on job interviews

  • Being part of a team and dealing with workplace conflict

  • And much more




A program designed to teach participants the fundamentals of finance needed to function in today’s world. The course includes 90 minutes of video instruction, a 23-page workbook, and activities and quizzes to ensure participants are absorbing the material.

Basic skills covered include: 

  • Budgeting

  • Operating a checking account

  • Paying taxes

  • Applying for financial aid

  • Filling out employment forms

  • Establishing credit

  • And much more




An interactive workshop designed to help people reevaluate and rebuild following incarceration by determining their values and setting attainable goals that will set them up for long-term success. Participants will have access to two hours of video instruction, a 35-page workbook, and quizzes, activities and goal-setting worksheets they can refer back to for years to come as they progress through their career and life goals.

Throughout the course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Determine your values

  • Set “bedrock” and “building” goals

  • Identify potential obstacles to reintegrating into society

  • Develop and pursue a meaningful career path

  • And much more


Dedicated Support Network


Referrals for employment, housing, substance abuse counseling, and other essential support services.


Skills development courses, lectures and webinars.


Virtual and In-person peer-to-peer meetings and connections.


One-on-one mentoring for those who need additional support.

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Get Started

If you didn’t have the opportunity to take 2nd Opportunity’s courses while in jail or prison, you can access them through our website and complete them at your own pace. Still have questions? Feel free to email us or call us at 847-257-2713.

Recent Success Stories


Having spent years stuck in the vicious cycle of jail and rehab, Mike M. now believes that ‘anything is possible’ after taking 2nd Opportunity’s re-entry, financial literacy, and goal-setting classes during a stint in Kane County Jail.

Despite the challenges, Chicago business owner Tom Decker is on a mission to turn individuals with a background into committed, loyal employees.

Incarcerated for drug-related crimes, Peter Hoistad focuses on shaping the next chapter of his life–one hurdle at a time.

Incarcerated for a Survival Crime, Willette Benford Learns She Was Meant to Thrive

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