California has committed itself to the largest prison-based reentry demonstration project in the nation’s history. The RFP released today through the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) provides $10 million in Federal stimulus funds for the Parolee Reentry Court Program to be administered by the California Administrative Office of the Courts.
The Parole Reentry Court Program, will provide between $1 and 1.5 million for two and one half years for up to seven prison-based reentry courts. The demonstration grants will be open to jurisdictions that have well defined and implemented drug and mental health courts. Priority will be given to jurisdictions serving large numbers of parolees and those with higher risks of recidivating.
For California, with its overwhelming prison overcrowding and reentry problems, this project marks a remarkable change from business as usual. For the first time, ex-prisoners will be under the jurisdiction of the California Courts. While the Corrections Agency will decide who is elligible for the program, once a prisoner is assigned to a Parolee Reentry Court, the reentry court judge and team ( with the assistance of a team based parole officer) will have final say until termination from the program.
Of Note: the program requires no matching funds from the court or local jurisdicition and retired judges may be contracted to preside over the reentry court.
Applications must be filed by March 1st. (For more information, see: Parolee Reentry Court Program)