San Francisco Parole Reentry Court Judge Jeffrey Tauber (ret.), presents a progoram participant with an award
San Francisco Parole Reentry Court Judge Jeffrey Tauber (ret.), presents a program participant with an award


California’s PROP. 47 did many things and did most of them right. According to Stanford Law School’s “One Year Progress Report”‘ released on Oct 29th, as to PROP 47 cases; recidvism is down, incarceration is down, felony charges are down, and court and
custody costs are down.This is what criminal justice reform looks like.

The whole world should be watching as Prop. 47 is implemented. It reduces drug possession offenses and relatively minor property crimes to misdemeanors. It allows those with felony records to petittion the court to reduce their offenses to misdemeanors (and dismiss the offense where appropriate), opening up new opportunities to those stigmatized with a felony conviction. It saves Caifornia taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, freeing jails and prisons for those incorrigible and dangerous offenders who need to be there. It decriminalizes drug possession without legalizing serious drug use.

Read more

Santa Clara Realignment: A Collaborative Court Model


The Santa Clara Realignment Model: This model builds on a comprehensive collaborative court system, well established in Santa Clara County over the past fifteen years.  It probably is closer to an evidence-based “Court-involved Realignment Model” than any other in California. Conceptually, the Model attempts to use the reentry court to separate the high risk offenders (many with histories of violence),  from the felons who pose little threat to the community.[click on image on the left for the 2011 Santa Clara County Public Safety Realignment implementation Plan]

Under the leadership of Judge Stephen Manley, Santa Clara County has  been able to expand and provide coverage beyond drug offenders to veterans,  the mentally ill, parolees and other criminal justice populations, working with over 2000 offenders a year. It was natural for  Santa Clara County’s Probation Department to work closely with the county’s Collaborative Court System to assist both supervision and rehabilitation of AB109 Realignment participants:

1. Offenders sentenced as felons under 1170H, (known as triple nons; non-violent, non-serious, non sex-ofenders) are assessed early in the process,  so that twelve sentencing judges can determine high risk offenders who need the special attention  of the reentry court.

2.Probation often refers parole violators (triple nons released from prison on Post Release Community Supervision; PRCS)  to the Parole Reentry Court for closer supervision and rehabilitation, even before filing a petition to revoke.  Using a retired treatment judge as the AB109  Revocation Hearing Officer, the Court retains PRCS offenders for special attention, while referring others to the Parole Reentry Court or other alternative to jail (if not to jail itself).

3. Finally, parolees supervised by parole officers, are turned over to the Parole Board for revocation hearings and sanctions (to be taken over by the Realignment Revocation Officer come July 2013). Parole currently sends a significant number of high risk parolees to the Parole Reentry Court  for supervision and rehabilitation services.

There are over 200 AB109 participants among the three categories of AB109  offenders presently being supervised by a reentry court (with some estimating the number to double over the next year).

The 2012 Santa Clara County Realignment Implementation Plan is expected to be submitted to the Board of Supervisors shortly.

[published in October, 2012]





Reentry Court Axiom: Smaller “Margin Of Error”

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) sponsored Reentry Court “Focus Group”, held in Boston, June 1, arrived at what might be described as a “Reentry Court Axiom”,  that “the greater the risk of  a particpant re-offending, the smaller the “margin of error”, for reentry court practitioners, to get it right”. Reading a transcript of the “Reentry Court  Focus Group” proceedings left me with the strong impression that, while the Reentry Court are largely based on the drug court model,  high-risk offenders returning from jails and prison, would pose a greater challenge than other  participant groups to date.

This conundrum was spelled out in the presentation of Dr. Douglas Marlowe, NADCP Director of Law, Policy, and Science, when he described the above mentioned, “Reentry Court Axiom” and the need to be diligent in the application of “evidence based practices” (see: Dr. Marlowe’s comments).  Other practitioners/experts in the field came to seemingly diferent conclusions. Judges Steven Manley of Santa Clara County , CA, and Chris Carpenter, of Boone County, Mo., agreed that the reentry court population would have to be treated differently than other populations, and that they presented a special challenge for the reentry court professional. But they concluded that allowances woud have to be made to keep the high risk offender in the reentry court; in effect lowering the bar required of reentry court particpants to stay in the program.

After reviewing the transcript, the seeming conflict resolved. Both Dr. Marlowe and the practitioner/experts agreed that this would be a more difficult population, one that would require “evidence-based practices” to be applied faithfully and diligently. But within those “practices” resided the flexibility (and  even necessity) for “lowering the bar”, by applying intermediate sanctions to  non-violent probation/parole violations.  Innovative intermediate sanctions, applied swiftly and with certainty, will allow the Reentry Court  to keep the offender in the community, without violating the participants’ parole/probation, or sending the participant back to prison.

I came away from my co-facilitaiton of the focus group (with Al Siegel, Deputy Director of the Center  for Court Innovations), with an understanding of the difficulty of effectively dealing with the Reentry Court population. But also with the belief that Reentry Court is our last best opportunity  to stem the flood of offenders returning to our prisons. [Reentry Court Focus Group Transcript. June 1, 2010]

© 2007 -  Reentry Court Solutions. All Rights Reserved.

Reentry Court Solutions Powered by Communications Team