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Bexar County Reentry Court

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $354,582)

The Second Chance Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-199) provides a comprehensive response to the increasing number of people who are released from prison and jail into communities and the subsequent challenges communities face as offenders attempt to reintegrate into society. Section 111 of the Second Chance Act authorizes the creation of state, local, and tribal reentry courts to monitor offenders and provide them with the treatment services needed to establish a self-sustaining and law-abiding life.

The Second Chance Act State, Local, and Tribal Reentry Courts Grant Program provides funding to state and local governments and federally recognized Indian tribes for demonstration projects to promote the safe and successful reintegration into the community of individuals who have been incarcerated. Funded demonstration projects will use validated and dynamic assessment tools to determine the risks and needs of offenders.

Reentry courts are specialized courts that help reduce recidivism and improve public safety through the use of judicial oversight to apply graduated sanctions and positive reinforcement; to marshal resources to support the prisoner's reintegration; and to promote positive behavior by the returning prisoners. The goal of a reentry court is to establish a seamless system of offender accountability and support services throughout the reentry process. These courts may be implemented as part of an overall drug court program.

Focused on the back-end of the criminal justice system, the reentry court should be designed to leverage partnerships between courts and corrections to facilitate successful offender reintegration. While reentry court approaches vary based on the laws and needs of a jurisdiction, the core components of a reentry court are standard and must include: 1) assessment and planning; 2) active oversight; 3) management of support services; 4) accountability; 5) graduated, swift-and-certain sanctions; and 6) rewards for success.

Bexar County Reentry Court will use the FY 2010 grant to develop and implement a Reentry Court. With a jail population that normally exceeds 4,300, the two Reentry Specialists housed in the jail are too overwhelmed to provide meaningful transition plans or to conduct gold standard risk and needs assessments. There is no actual "reentry process." Offenders simply leave jail or probation and there is no further contact. Under the grant funds, the Bexar County will focus on those individuals who are housed in the Adult Probation Department's Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (SATF) and the Mentally Impaired Offender Facility (MIOF). At any given time, there are more than 100 offenders in SATF and 60 offenders in MIOF. Their average length of stay in each facility is three months which allows time for the basis of treatment to take place.

The Bexar County will develop and implement a Reentry Court that is modeled after the widely acclaimed Drug Court model but includes the mandatory six components required by BJA of Reentry Courts. The Reentry Court will be focused on those individuals who are on probation and housed at the Probation Department's SATF and MIOF facilities. The Reentry Court will integrate alcohol and drug treatment as well as mental health care services within the context of the criminal justice system. A full spectrum of residential and outpatient drug treatment and mental health care services with various treatment modalities will be integrated into the legal and judicial processing of cases. The Bexar County Reentry Court expects an active caseload of 80 individuals at any given time. The average length of stay within the Reentry Court will be between 12 and 18 months. The Reentry Court will be held accountable to its mission, vision and values by the Reentry Council.


Date Created: September 14, 2010