In California, a reentry court is a type of collaborative justice court for individuals who have been released from prison, have violated their terms of community supervision, and have a history of substance abuse or mental health issues.
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.
Although reentry courts operate slightly different across counties, the following program components are common to all reentry courts in California.
The one-day session convened judges, probation and parole officers, service providers and criminal justice partners to explore lessons learned, differences between parole and probation, evaluation and research as well as strengthening partnerships.
Materials and Resources
The resources and materials distributed during and after the “Reentry Court Roundtable” are included here for your use. It includes articles, faculty PowerPoint presentations, model court documents and forms, information covering funding services and programs and a roster of attendees
Additionally, we have attached a Department of Health Care Services flier, which answers frequently asked questions, defines case management services, and who might be eligible to, in limited circumstances, receive payment for providing those services.
Click here to view the agenda and faculty materials for the event.
A Reentry Court Summit titled "Court Programs and Practices for Working with Reentry, PRCS, and Mandatory Supervision Populations" was held on APRIL 21, 2014 in San Francisco, CA at the offices of the Judicial Council. Invitations were sent to existing programs and to courts interested in starting up a reentry court program.
Topics covered included:
Eligibility requirements: Individual must be on parole or post-release community supervision and have at least one year remaining on supervision. The individual must have violated their conditions of supervision and have a history of substance abuse or mental health issues.
For more information on Alameda's Reentry Court program, contact:
Alameda Superior Court;
Eligibility requirements: This program is for women on parole or post-release community supervision who have been charged with a felony offense and are facing a state prison sentence. To be eligible participants must have a history of substance abuse or mental health issues.
For more information on the Los Angeles Reentry Court program, contact:
Los Angeles Superior Court;
Eligibility requirements: Individual must be on parole or post-release community supervision and facing a state prison sentence for a non-violent non-sex offense. Program Manual
For more information on San Diego's Reentry Court Program, contact:
San Diego County District Attorney;
Eligibility requirements: Individual must be on parole or post-release community supervision. The individual must have violated their conditions of supervision and have a history of substance abuse or mental health issues. Program Manual
For more information on San Joaquin's Reentry Court program, contact:
San Joaquin Superior Court
Eligibility requirements: Individual must be on parole, post-release community supervision, or mandatory supervision. The individual must have violated their conditions of supervision and have a history of substance abuse or mental health issues. Program Manual
For more information on Santa Clara's reentry court program, contact:
Santa Clara Superior Court
In 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 or expansion of up to seven reentry pilot courts in California.
The program was designed to protect public safety while providing an alternative to incarceration for offenders who would benefit from community treatment services. This legislation transferred the jurisdiction of parolees in the reentry court from state parole to the court. Under the pilot program reentry courts were to employ a collaborative court model and accept parolees or individuals on post-release community supervision (person released from prison and supervised by county probation) who have violated their terms of supervision and have a history of either substance abuse or mental health issues.
The courts who participated in the original pilot program were: Alameda, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, and Santa Clara. These reentry court programs began operations between October 2010 and January 2011.
The Judicial Council of California is currently conducting an evaluation on reentry courts. Final findings will be available early 2014.
Penal Code § 3015(e)(2) states that the Judicial Council shall design and perform an evaluation of the program that will assess its effectiveness in reducing recidivism among parolees and offenders subject to postrelease supervision and reducing revocations.
The Judicial Council of California received additional funding from the California Endowment to expand the scope of the evaluation and is now working with NPC Research to complete the evaluation of the reentry court pilot program. Two preliminary reports have been produced by the Judicial Council and can be accessed here:
Tools for courts interested in starting a reentry court:
AOC Briefing: A Preliminary Look at California Parolee Reentry Courts June 2012
Preliminary Report, California Parolee Reentry Courts 2012