Re-entry Courts

Need for Reentry Courts
During the 1980s and 1990s, national prison population estimates increased nearly 600 percent. By 2006, more than 1.5 million people were in state or federal prison in the United States. Of these nearly 92 percent were men and 8 percent were women (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2007). In California, there were more than 172,000 prison inmates at the end of 2006. In 2007, approximately 128,000 California prisoners were released back to their communities.
  • Decisions about a participant’s case are determined by the reentry court team which is led by the judge and usually includes a defense attorney, a prosecutor, a parole officer, a probation officer, and treatment staff and/or case managers.
  • Reentry court participants are assessed for their risk of re-offending and for their treatment needs. Treatment and community supervision plans are then created based on the information obtained from these assessments.
  • Participants attend regularly scheduled court sessions, usually one to four times a month, to discuss their adherence to their supervision/treatment plans and other program requirements.
  • Graduated sanctions, such as admonishments, increased frequency of mandatory court sessions, and jail sanctions, are used to respond to non-compliant behaviors. Incentives, such as verbal praise, reduced frequency of court hearings, and transportation or food vouchers, are used to reward and encourage participants’ progress.
  • Participants remain in the program and receive services, such as case management and substance abuse and mental health treatment, for approximately 12-18 months. Once participants successfully complete the program, reentry courts can recommend early discharge from community supervision.

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