One new approach being undertaken in California is reentry courts. The Council of State Governments recommends a comprehensive and collaborative court approach to parolee reentry, i.e., one that addresses specific parolee's housing, job, education, and mental health services needs. Specialized parolee reentry courts represent a relatively new trend in attempts to reduce recidivism.
About the Parolee Reentry Court Pilot Program
As part of the Corrections Reform package (Senate Bill 18 3X) and the Budget Act of 2009, the Legislature provided $9.5 million in federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds to be distributed over a period of three years for the establishment of up to seven reentry pilot courts in California.
In order to reduce recidivism, revocation and re-incarceration among parolees, the Parole Reentry Pilot Court program must employ a collaborative court model and utilize evidence-based programs and services. Collaborative justice model courts are designated to integrate treatment and other social services with enhanced judicial monitoring for parolees with a goal of reducing recidivism and parole revocation, thus promoting public safety.
Parolees with a history of substance abuse or mental illness who violate a condition of parole may be referred by a parole officer to a reentry court in lieu of revocation to prison or other alternative sanction. If the court admits the parolee into the program, the court has exclusive authority over the parolee's supervision.
The Parolee Reentry Pilot Court program will be evaluated by the Administrative Office of the Courts and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Revocation and re-offense rates of participants and those of similarly situated parolees who are not program participants will be compared. The evaluation will also consider different models of reentry courts.
The six participating reentry courts are: Alameda, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, and Santa Clara.
Preliminary results are available in the following AOC brief: A Preliminary Look at California Parole Reentry Courts (06/2012; 10 pages)
To learn more about reentry courts:
The Center for Court Innovation is a non-profit New York City organization that helps courts and criminal justice agencies aid victims, reduce crime and improve public trust in justice.
Reentry Courts: Looking Ahead
A Conversation about Strategies for Offender Reintegration
Reentry Court Solutions
Judge Jeffrey Tauber (ret.)
Federal Justice Center
Education and research center for the federal courts.
A Courtroom Unlike Any Other
Santa Clara County’s Parolee Reentry Court is a Case Study in Reducing Prison Recidivism
A report prepared for the California Senate Rules Committee; June 1, 2011