June 4, 2012
The Reentry Court field was well represented at the NADCP Conference with six workshop tracks and two 3 hour traing sessions on Front-End Reentry Courts and Federal Reentry Courts. Both 3 hour trainings and the track work shop on Front End or Early Intervention Reentry Courts were especially well attended and the audience was fully engaged by panelists from Dallas, Texan and Akron, Ohio. Both jurisdictions have reentry courts that are well established.(see photo to the left; Judge Bobby Francis and graduates of the Dallas Reentry Court program).
Though those courts were clearly successful Front End Reentry Court models, there were significant distinctions between them. Judge Francis’ Dallas program, determined eligibility at the time of sentence, with participants placed on probation and in a treatment program on prison grounds , but separate from prisoners. Judge Elinore Marsh-Stormer’s Akron program, relied on prisoners to initiate their program entry with a letter of request to the judge, and a court review process to determine their appropriateness, before they were released into the control of probation and the court. What both courts shared was an obvious dedication and enthusiasm for their work, and their ability to use their limited jurisdiction to remove offenders from prison after only a fraction of their prison term, to be returned to the reentry court for further supervision, treatment, and rehabilitation services in their communities (see: Front Loaded Court Based Interventions),