The New York Times published the following article on Sunday, October 8, 2011, on the closing of the highly successful San Francisco Parole Reentry Court. (see: “Parole and Probation Courts in San Francisco are Closing After Budget Cuts” )
The San Francisco Parole Reentry Court was part of a six county statutory pilot program, that gave the San Francisco Superior Court jurisdiction and authority for the first time to determine parole conditions, including rehabilitation and supervision as well as sanctions for parole violations. It was not an easy program to start, because of the reluctance of many to take on the supervision of parolees (an executive function in California and most of the states). As it turns out, we were merely anticipating the inevitable sentencing realignment in California, that would return a majority of prisoners to county jurisdiction.
The SFPRC enjoyed the full support of the San Francisco court until this past summer, when drastic reductions in state funding caused many California Courts to reassess their ability to provide rehabilitation services. San Francisco was one of the worst hit, with over 6 million dollars of debt and prospects of closing down 25 of 63 courtrooms countywide. The court determined that the Parole Reentry court (as well as two smaller reentry courts; a juvenile reentry court and a probation reentry court) would be closed down, because they did not provide a core function of the court. Focusing on what they considered to be their survival as a court, the San Francisco Superior Court decided to get out of the “reentry court” business.