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Re-Entry Court

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The 22nd JDC Re-Entry Court program is a multi-faceted program combining the correctional system, law enforcement, the judicial branch and those stakeholders in mental health, substance abuse treatment, education and workforce development in order to reverse the disturbing trend of high incarceration rates with low rates of behavioral change.

The pre-release phase of the program is conducted at La. State Penitentiary. Mentors there work with the participants in several areas including life skills, vocational training, GED instruction and substance abuse treatment. Once completed, the participant may petition the court for acceptance into the program. The goal is to provide the participant with the resources and skills necessary to successfully reenter society.

Summary
Phases
Judges and Schedule
Re-Entry Article

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Summary

The Reentry Court Program is a specialty court program given the responsibility to handle cases involving less serious non-violent offenders through a supervision and treatment program. These programs include frequent drug testing, judicial and probation supervision, drug counseling, treatment, educational opportunities, employment assistance, and the use of sanctions and incentives. The Reentry Court is a multi-faceted court based program that combines the strength of the correctional system, law enforcement, the prosecutorial branch, and the judicial branch with the stakeholders in mental health, substance abuse treatment, education, and workforce development in order to reverse the disturbing trend of high incarceration rates with low rates of behavioral change. The Judge has much more involvement in supervising reentry court offenders than just placing an individual in a probationary or diversionary program for drug treatment.

The pre-release phase of the Reentry Court Program is conducted at Louisiana State Penitentiary. The Angola mentors work with participants in several areas including life skills, vocational skills, Pre-GED and GED instruction, faith-based reentry, and basic substance abuse treatment. When the pre-release phase has been completed, the participant may petition the Court for acceptance into the Reentry Court which continues and builds upon the participant’s work and progress made while at Angola. The goal of the Reentry Court Program is to provide the participant with the resources and skills necessary to successfully reenter society.

The philosophy of the program is that through learning new behaviors, using the resources of treatment, family, community and friends, and also structuring a suitable recovery environment, many of these people will be capable of living a crime-free lifestyle. The Reentry Court Program is designed to address the offender’s need for treatment, support and monitoring in a highly structured system which emphasizes accountability. This system involves the treatment program, a Case Management Office, the Court, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, Probation and Parole, and other community resources as needed. Clients are required to participate in regular treatment sessions, frequent urine drug screening, and recurrent court appearances to ensure they comply with the requirements of the program. Other issues which clients face such as emotional problems, vocational needs, educational deficits, etc., are addressed by the appropriate agencies.

The treatment philosophy used involves the utilization of intensive day treatment, family therapy, self-help programs of AA/NA/CA/Celebrate Recovery, and case management in a structured and disciplined environment. When appropriate, referrals can be made to detoxification programs, inpatient treatment and/or residential treatment settings.

Phases

Phase I – (Average duration is 6 to 9 months)

During Phase I of Reentry Court, you will be expected to undergo a substance abuse evaluation to determine if you need to begin treatment.

There are three primary clinics that we use for outpatient therapy. They are located in Covington and Slidell.

Your treatment plan will be based on an assessment of your substance abuse history and current situation. Most of the clients start in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Both of the clinics have a day program available for IOP. Times and days may vary according to each state clinic; however, you are provided a schedule for the clinic you attend. The Covington and Slidell Clinics also offer night programs. This offers people who are working during the daytime an opportunity to participate in the Reentry Court Program.

 During Phase I, clients will be expected to give random urine drug screens. (See the later section entitled “Drug Screens” for more details.) You will also be required to attend at least one AA/NA/CA/Celebrate Recovery meeting per week, (see section on “12-Step Meetings for details) and get a Sponsor from these meetings who has at least three years of sobriety.

YOU WILL ALSO ATTEND A STATUS HEARING ONCE A WEEK. We highly recommend that you arrive by 8:30 AM sharp.

Clients cannot move to Phase II in Reentry Court until they have completed the recommended treatment program. They must also be current with their AA/NA/CA/CR meetings, have a sponsor, take an educational assessment (if needed) and have clean drug screens, and have approved employment. Additionally, clients are required to maintain a curfew from 10 pm – 6am, every day; make telephone contact with their probation officer as instructed and have face to face contact with their probation officer as instructed.

Sometimes a client may be demoted back to Phase I as a sanction or in conjunction with a referral to inpatient treatment. In those cases the Court will decide when the client can be moved back into Phase II.

Phase II –  (Average duration is a minimum of 6 months)

Clients should be attending Relapse Prevention Group (RPG) (if recommended) during Phase II of the Reentry Court Program. Times and days may vary according to the respective clinic. The clinic staff will determine your schedule.

During this time you are still required to give random urine drug screens as instructed and attend at least one AA/NA/CA/Celebrate Recovery meeting weekly. You will only have to attend Status Hearings once every other week. You will also be expected to get full-time employment or enroll in full time job training or an educational institute if approved by the Court. Clients are also required to maintain a curfew from 10 pm – 6am on Monday-Friday and from 12pm – 6am on Saturday and Sunday. Clients are expected to make telephone contact with their probation officer as instructed and face to face contact as instructed.

Movement to Phase III depends on program compliance, staying current with AA/NA/CA/CR meetings, clean urine drug screens, and maintaining employment or full-time student status.

Additionally, you MUST be in Phase II for a minimum of six months before you move to Phase III. You MUST also have three months without a positive, abnormal, adulterated or missed UDS.

Phase III – (Average duration is One Year)

Participants must meet with their case managers at least once per month for a case management session and attend treatment as ordered. Clients in this phase should be attending Aftercare phase of treatment. (Times and days may vary according to the respective clinic. The clinic staff will determine your schedule.) To keep placement in Phase III, regular attendance at outside AA/NA/CA/Celebrate Recovery meetings and clean urine drug screens are required. Status hearings are held once per month during Phase III.

In this phase, clients are also required to maintain a curfew from 12pm-6 am Monday – Friday and no curfew is in place on the weekends. Clients are to make telephone contact with their probation officer on a weekly basis and face to face contact every other week.

You must have your AA/NA/CA meetings current and have at least six months of verifiable clean time prior to your graduation. Also, your probation officer/case manager has to approve your graduation.

You are required to complete three Phases (approx. two years) as well as recommended treatment before graduating from the Reentry Court Program.

 Phase IV – (Duration Three Years)

 Advancement to Phase IV is automatic upon graduation from Reentry Court. While in Phase IV, you are required to attend a minimum of six alumni events during the first six-month period. For each appearance at an alumni event, you will receive a $10 UDS Bucks Coupon. This can be used to screen, which will be required on a random basis. Your color will change to purple or gold (depending on location) when you advance to Phase IV. While in Phase IV, you will attend court once a quarter. You will also be required to attend a minimum of one AA/NA/CA/Celebrate Recovery meeting each week and provide proof of attendance. You will also be required to meet once a month with your case manager.

Additionally, clients are required to make telephone contact with their probation officer as directed by the court and face to face contact with their probation officer as instructed. No curfew is in place for clients in this phase of the program.

Judge and Schedule

St. Tammany Parish

Judge Knight—Thursday mornings

7:30 pre-status conferences in chambers
8:30 status conferences in court
15 clients post-release
43 clients incarcerated