"Today when I think of reentry court, I am reminded that nearly every offender sentenced to time in custody will return to the community from whence they came. And thus, every sentencing court is in fact, a reentry court, creating a pathway for the offender’s reentry into society." -Jeff Tauber

Dallas SAFPF Court: Where Reentry Court is Also Pre-Entry Court

 

 

 

 

 

Graduates of the Dallas SAFPC Program, (which can also be described as a “Front End Reentry Court”), with Judge Robert Francis.

 

THE BEST OF: The following article, published on Dec.13,2009, describes the success of the Dallas SAFPC  program  placing drug offenders, a probation program located on a prison site, that returns the offender to the community after relatively short period in custody.

The Dallas Reentry Court is a excellent example of the extraordinary innovation (and sometimes bewildering variation) among pre-entry courts, that divert offenders from a prison sentence to a probation based custodial program. What makes the Dallas SAFPF Program unique, is that its custodial segment is actually situated on prison grounds, yet program participants are segregated from the prison population, and never leave the jurisdiction of the County SAPFP Court Program.

The Texas legislature’s “4C program” provides  in-custody facilities within the prison’s outer perimeter , and uses specially trained, but regular prison guards. Although there are approximately ten jurisdictions that take advantage of “4c” facilites, Dallas is by far the largest, and the only one that has a court and judge dedicated to the reentry mission. Seventeen Dallas judges sentence drug offenders to the  SAFPF program, but when offenders finsh their in-custody treatment (typically 6 to 9 months),  they enter a dedicated Reentry Court for monitoring, continued treatment and rehabilitative services.

Judge Robert Francis, a retired judge, works full time as the reentry court judge. He and his staff take regualr trips to the “4C” facilities to check up on Dallas based offenders. Plans are in the works to reward those who do well well in the in-custody program.  Though the progam is less than a year old, 275  participants have completed the in-custody “4C” treatment program, and been released into the care and custody of Judge Francis and the Dallas SAFPF Reeentry Court,  where revocations are at an extraordinarily low 5%.

Contact: [email protected]

Columbia Reentry Court:A Probation-Based Reentry Court

The Boone county reentry court model has a split sentence structure that relies upon probation, rather than parole, to provide services and monitoring. Those sent to prison, receive treatment during an initial four month prison term and are returned to the reentry court for continued treatment, rehabilitation and monitoring. Approimately 80 returnees are part of the progam at any time.

Judge Chris Carpenter attributes the program’s documented success to a level of accountabilty and structure that touches the participant even before they leave prison. A returning offender is interviewed by the reentry court coordinator before leaving prison, released from prison on Tuesdays only, transported for an extensive interview and assessments with  the coordinator on Wednesdays, and transported to court on Thursday for the offenders first reentry court hearing. During this period, the offender is in held at “Reality House”, a secure facility, and only released after court and upon the judge’s order.

 Though Judge Carpenter also presides over drug and mental health courts, she believes that the seriousness of the returnees criminal history and criminal attitude require that they be separated from other problem-solving court participants. The reentry court team is made up of  judge,  program coordinator, probation officers, case managers, job training counselors, and treatment specialists.  Of interest; even though this is a county probation-based program, prosecutor and defense counsel are not part of the reentry court, unless and until the participant is terminated from the program and a “probation revocation hearing” ordered (  see “Minimalist Reentry Court” ). Nor is this a voluntary program. Everyone sentenced under the split sentencing statute who returns to the community after four months (many who have been sentenced to substantial prison terms), enters reentry court, signs a contingency contract, and is a participant in the program. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Columbia reentry court, is that it is part of a seamless rehabilitation process, whose dimensions and consequences  are known to all, even before a plea is enterred into.

$20 Million SAMHSA/BJA Grant For Joint Drug Court Strategies

APPLICATION DUE DATE:  All applications are due by 8:00 p.m. eastern time on February 11, 2010.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ( SAMHSA ), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment ( CSAT ), in collaboration with U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs ( OJP ), Bureau of Justice Assistance ( BJA ), is accepting applications for FY 2010 grants to enhance the court services, coordination, and substance abuse treatment capacity of adult drug courts. The purpose of this joint initiative is to invite applicants to submit for consideration one comprehensive strategy for enhancing drug court capacity, allowing applicants to compete for access to both criminal justice and substance abuse treatment funds with one application. This effort is a unique opportunity for demonstrating effective ways of weaving federal funding sources to create comprehensive service approaches – in this case a system of a comprehensive support in an Adult Drug Court setting.

Under this program, grantees will receive two separate awards; BJA will fund the drug court component and CSAT will fund the substance abuse treatment component. A total of up to 31 grant awards of up to $625,000 ( $325,000 in SAMHSA substance abuse treatment funding and a one-time $300,000 in BJA drug court grant ) will be made to each grantee in FY 2010. Thereafter, SAMHSA will make annual awards, up to $325,000, per grantee for each of the remaining two years of the grant period.  The annual SAMHSA continuation awards will depend on the availability of funds, grantee progress in meeting project goals and objectives, timely submission of required data and reports, and compliance with all terms and conditions of award. [BJA/SAMHSA application]

Reentry Court Note: Funding for drug courts should be available for probation or jail based reentry courts.

Fed “Second Chance Act” Funding: $37 Million for Reentry Demos

The DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance  (BJA) released it’s RFP under Sec.101 of the “Second Chance Act”, providing $37 million in funding for Adult and Juvenile Reentry Demonstation Grants on December 22nd, (with an application deadline of March 4, 2010). We can expect more grants to come on line in the coming weeks and months. This year alone, funding under the “Second Chance Act” has increased nearly 400% to $100 million.

Dr. Gary L. Dennis, Senior Policy Advisor for Corrections, at BJA (and administrator of the “Second Chance Act”), advises  that  reentry courts are elligible as applicants for 2010 Reentry Demonstartion Grants. Even so, it may be prudent for reentry courts to accesss critical resources through government agency partners that may be more attractive applicants to BJA; such as  jails, prisons, probation, parole and rehabilitation services (remember that the 2010 “Second Chance Act” provides $10 million for reentry courts alone).

Don’t forget grant applicability to jail-based reentry courts or pre-entry courts

The  recently enacted “Second Chance Act” and other federal reentry legislation recognize the critical importance of keeping the non-violent offender out of prison in the first place. Whether called reentry/drug court, pre-entry court, or jail-based reentry court; a probation-based reentry court that places sentenced felons in custodial programs rather than prison, may access Sec.101 reentry demonstration project funds. [see Reentry/Drug Court Model]

Key Criteria For Reentry Demonstration Project funding:

1. Applicants are limited to state and local government agencies

2. Each grantee must have an active “task force” representing diverse community interests.

3. Applicants must provide description of the role of corrections agencies in reentry

4. Applicants must have a comprehensive, long-term reentry strategy

5. Applicants must provide information on how outcomes will be monitored and tracked

6. Priority  is given to applicants focused on areas with large numbers of returnees

7. Priority given to applicants providing effective case management in reentry processes.

8. Priority is given to applicants using graduated sanctions and Incentives as conditions of release or probation

[see BJA’s Complete Reentry Demomonstration Project Application/Critereia]

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