Guest bloggers Judge William Knight, Caroline Cooper and David Wexler describe the Louisiana Reentry Court and identify features that may be exportable into other jurisdictions…
Under the leadership of Judge William Knight, Louisiana’s 22nd Judicial District (St. Tammany and Washington Parishes) launched a Reentry Court for “high risk/high needs” offenders with multiple prior felony convictions for nonviolent property and substance abuse offences.
Instituted in 2011, the program is becoming a statewide model and may have “exportable” elements that other jurisdictions may want to consider and potentially adapt including:
- The sentencing Judge retains jurisdiction following prison release:
- an adaptation of the existing sentencing framework through use of “split sentencing” – period of incarceration is followed by probation with court retaining supervision authority.
- Seamless transition from institutional treatment and support services to community based treatment and support services
- Continuity of participant/case management relationship from sentencing through incarceration
- On-going multi-agency collaboration
- Public/private partnerships to promote a continuum of care starting from sentencing through program completion and aftercare
The establishment of the program involved:
- Engaging multiple agencies/branches of government to promote the program
- Proposing the program as a local pilot
- Educating the justice system, other stakeholders and the general public about the program
- Retaining flexibility while keeping site on the overall purpose of the program
Read more about the program: Knight, William and Cooper, Caroline and Wexler, David B., Louisiana Reentry Court Promotes Seamless Transition between Sentencing, Incarceration and Post Release Services – Some Potential Exportable Elements (February 15, 2017). Available at SSRN click here.