April 21, 2014
The following article published in 2012, provides an excellent review of the concepts central to Reentry Courts, the different models of Reentry Courts, and a Table of states with reentry court jurisdiction. It would be an excellent starting point to learn about reentry courts and “Front -End Reentry Courts in particular.
If you’ve been reading the blogs on this website, you probably figured out I’m a proponent of “Front-End Reentry Court” (FERC). And you probably know that Front-End jurisdiction already exists in most jurisdictions, and with FERC there’s little reason for conflict with corrections, parole or other agencies over control of exiting prisoners, and finally that it costs relatively little to incarcerate someone in jail/prison for 4 months as opposed to four years. But the most compelling of arguments for FERC, is that its “the best way to reduce recidivism by keeping the offender out of prison (or at least limiting the prison term substantially).
As President Emeritus, and advisor to NADCP’s Board of Directors on Reentry Courts, I was asked to follow-up on a paper I wrote several years ago on existing reentry court models (Ten-Prison Based Reentry Court Models). I had a very limited idea of where contacts between the courts and prisoners or ex-prisoners existed. Without that information, it seemed difficult for anyone to formulate a realistic strategy for using the courts to reduce recidivism and/or prison populations.
Over the past several months, I’ve contacted some forty-five states (give or take) and asked where those points of contact were. (See: The Importance of Jurisdiction in Court-Based Reentry). Looking at the data, a pattern became apparent. There were relatively few states that gave their courts jurisdicition to supervise offenders coming back from prison, but many (and i believe most) gave their judges authority to recall an offender within a statutory period of time for resentencing. Some courts were doing this on a case by case basis, while others were using short term prison sentences systemically, to do treatment and/or assessments.