Reentry Initiatives Questions

  • Q. From where will counties find the money to pay for reentry initiatives?

    A. As far as reentry program initiatives, it should not be viewed as something new or different than the programming that was previously used before the Acts became effective. There were a lot of counties doing some early release programs. Reentry is kind of the buzz word today. There are a lot of information resources that counties can obtain through the Department of Corrections Web site. For instance, there are programs that are developed and actually have some evidenced-based history that a county could adopt just by going to their Web site and looking for them. (Brinda Penyak)

  • Q. What agencies will be responsible for determining an offender’s program needs?

    A. Essentially, it's going to be the judge who makes the determination. But it is also the kind of thing that should be discussed through criminal justice advisory boards, locally. There should be some discussions about how these types of decisions will be made in a given county with resources that are there and the individuals and personnel who usually participate in that type of decision making. (Brinda Penyak)

  • Q. Regarding the “Reentry plan,” would the criteria for this plan be determined at the time of sentencing? Would this mean an overall increase in the amount (of) required programming within county facilities?

    A. I think this gets back to Jim's earlier point about Criminal Justice Advisory Boards or CJABs. If, at the time of sentencing, the court is making someone eligible for a reentry program and earlier parole, in many cases the court will want to know what it is the court is making the offender eligible for.

    So I think it is very helpful to use a group of county practitioners like those assembled through a Criminal Justice Advisory Board to try to identify what types of programs or procedures would be available in the county or maybe available to the court and also who are the appropriate offenders to recommend for those types of programs. Very much like counties have done with County Intermediate Punishment Programs and other kind of county activities, I think it is a good opportunity to try to discuss and plan that in advance, so at the time of sentencing, the court cannot only state eligibility for a county reentry program but maybe specify that type of program and have some understanding about when the person might be released earlier than the min. I think that helps in the whole issue of transparency. It certainly addresses the issue of giving the district attorney notice of early parole. It addresses, I think, issues of notifications to the victim and involvement of those issues. I think it is just a really good practice that should be promoted that a county think about this in advance so that the court is not making decisions in a vacuum.

    Having said all that, having done quite a few presentations involving judges, I think most judges anticipate that even if they make someone eligible for a reentry program, they anticipate that a petition would be coming back to the court to actually parole that person. Practices are different from county to county, but in many counties, the court would actually want to respond to a petition for early parole along the lines of eligibility program. (Mark Bergstrom)