Re-Entry Court Initiative

635 words | 3 page(s)

The Office of Justice Programs launched the reentry court initiative in February 2000. The Reentry Court Initiative was launched to discover a new approach to humanizing offender reintegration into the neighborhood. The reentry court idea was drawn from the drug court model that uses judicial power to apply graduated permits and positive reinforcement to marshal possessions to maintain prisoners’ reintegration (Greene & Gabbidon2009). The purpose of the reentry court initiative is to establish a faultless system of offender responsibility and support services throughout the reentry process.

Description of the initiative, where and when it was done, and those involved
The reentry court initiative was developed to help the parolees return to the Harlem community, make the transition from life in prison and to be responsible citizens. The Harlem Community Justice Center, in collaboration with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Division of Parole sought to help the parolees return to their community. Several principles were established to ensure the seamless release of the parolees (Samuels, 2006). The potential participants underwent a pre-release assessment in prison to determine their suitability to the program. The Parole staff worked closely with justice center staff to develop detailed profiles concerning the participating inmates. This information included addiction, criminal involvement, living arrangements, medical status including mental health, family composition, and vocal skills.

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Considering this information, a modified treatment and supervision plan was prepared for each participant (Wolf, 2011). After their release, parolees appear frequently at the Justice Center to report on their observance with the treatment and supervision plans. To encourage compliance, the Justice Center uses graduated sanctions and incentives. The penalties for misbehavior and missed appointments may include increased court appearances, curfews and in the most serious cases, return to prison. When participants showed positive behaviors, they were given rewards. The rewards, which provide positive reinforcement for positive behavior, include reduced court reporting and the relaxation of travel restrictions (Samuels, 2006).

Results of parolees court reentry initiative
The centers at Harlem Community Justice helped the parolees to transit back to the neighborhood. The parolees were provided with community-based services and intensive monitoring. The program helped to reduce crime; participants of the reentry court initiative are re-convicted at a lower rate (Greene & Gabbidon 2009).

Suggestion for conducting a reentry court initiative
From my suggestion, the results of the parolees’ reentry court initiative had significant impacts to the community. The reduction of crimes in the society is a major benefit that every community would wish to have. It is evident that the reentry court initiative brings positives effects to both the individual and the community involved. From my view, the after release treatment and close observations of the parolees worked best (Wolf, 2011). This observation ensured that even after the release the individuals’, their motives and behaviors were supervised. This concern ensures that the individual transforms fully from his or her previous irregularities. The introduction of a reward after compliance with the rules also worked best in ensuring the reentry court initiative of the parolees worked best (Batten, 2011). The individuals would strive to comply with the required standards and when motivated the participant feels accepted thus further collaboration.

From my suggestion, the issue of the penalties for the parolees who did not comply with the required standards and missed court appearances would have been improved. This intimates that severe punishments could have been imposed to individuals who did not comply. Every misbehavior or failure to comply with the rules should have resulted to a fine and detention for a while. These punishments ensure that the individuals try their level best to comply with the set standards to avoid going back to prison. It would ensure that with or without close supervision, the individuals complied with the set standards. These severe punishments would induce self-discipline and espouse their effective observance of the law (Batten, 2011).

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