March 11, 2013
The DOj is putting money and effort into a project that focuses on the development of court based reentry efforts. One can sometimes get the impression that the courts are not a significant focus in the federal government’s approach to state prison reentry issues. This project shows the opposite to be true.
The National institutue of Justice has released a one year process evaluation of eight Adult Reentry Courts that are sponsored under the BJA Second Chance Act. The National Institute of Justice’s “Evaluation of Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Courts: Program Characteristics and Preliminary Themes from Year 1”, was authored by Christine Lindquist, Jennifer Hardison Walters, Michael Rempel, and Shannon M. Carey. The document is the product of RTI International, The Center for Court innovation and NPC Research. (click on image on the left for PDF of evaluation)
The eight reentry court jurisdictions being funded and evaluated are Union County, Arkansas, New Castle County, Delaware, Pinellas County, Florida, Boone County, Missouri, Strafford County, New Hampshire, Stark County, Ohio, Bexar County, Texas, and Norfolk County, Virginia.
The process evaluation will document the implementation of the evolving programs through three rounds of site visits, and be followed by an impact evaluation and a cost –benefit evaluation.
From the I year site visit and process evaluation,
“Several programmatic characteristics were common across most sites, including the emphasis on post-release service delivery, the provision of a breadth of services relevant to the target population (with all sites offering substance abuse treatment and employment services), the use of a case management approach to coordinate and monitor services, the use of court hearings for the purpose of monitoring participants’ progress in the program, the use of drug testing, and a team approach to decision-making regarding sanctions and rewards. In all sites, reentry court participation is used as a condition of supervision, with the sentencing judge retaining jurisdiction over the participant in most sites. Therefore, almost all participants are under community supervision by a parole or probation officer for the entire duration of reentry court participation.”