This document presents an evaluation of the Office of Justice Programs’(OJP) Reentry Court Initiative (RCI), which establishes a system of offender accountability and support services throughout the reentry process.
The RCI identified and provided technical assistance to nine sites to implement reentry courts: California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. The sites were responsible for developing strategies to improve the tracking and supervision of offenders upon release, prepare communities to address public safety concerns, and provide the services necessary to help offenders reconnect with their families and the community. This study, Phase 1 of the RCI process evaluation, entailed collecting core programmatic information from all nine sites and conducting site visits to three of the programs to gather more detailed information. Based on these results and other considerations, it will be determined whether the release of funds for the full process evaluation (Phase 2) is merited. Using telephone interviews with key site contacts, core information was gathered from the RCI sites including details on the operational status of each program, the target populations and enrollment, program organization and operations, services provided, key agencies involved, and barriers encountered. Of the nine RCI sites, all but one were able to reach operational status. Among the eight sites that implemented programs, seven are still operational, with most of the sites planning on continuing their programs. The programs target a diversity of offender populations, using parameters such as post-release county of residence, offense type, or treatment needs to define their target population. They employ diverse approaches in establishing their reentry court programs. A major factor that distinguishes the programs is whether programmatic authority is maintained by the judicial branch or the executive branch. Most sites offer comprehensive services to their program participants, with case management provided either through a specialized case manager or the supervision officer. Commonly provided services include mental health counseling, physical health care, substance abuse treatment, family counseling, employment and vocational assistance, educational assistance, and housing assistance. The RCI confirms the need to leverage existing resources unique to a particular community in order to implement a successful program. 11 references, 3 appendices
Date Published: April 1, 2003