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Arkansas Reentry Court Pilot Project

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $121,546)

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.

Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts for Arkansas Drug Court Advisory Committee (ADCAC) will use the FY 2010 grant funds to develop and pilot a Reentry/Drug Court Program following the early release/prior to term completion model to assure a smooth transition to the community for returning offenders. The first half of year one of the project will be used to develop reentry criteria and eligibility requirements. The State Drug Court Advisory Committee (SDCAC) will serve as the applicant for the grant and over-see the reentry court project. The second half of year one will be spent on implementation and integration of the pilot reentry/drug court program in the current Union County Adult Drug Court Program. The pilot project will serve between 10 to 15 offenders during the six months of implementation. The Reentry Court Probation Officer will be hired to assist in the piloting of the program in Union County. This is the only personnel to be funded through the grant. The Drug Court program will be divided up into three active phases equal to seventy eight weeks, and will also include an after care program of up to an additional twenty six weeks. The program is designed to allow the participant to transition through Phases. Upon progress in substance abuse, life skills, coping skills, employment and educational issues, the participant will be able to move forward from a highly supervised treatment to a less intensive treatment program. A program evaluator will be hired to conduct a robust evaluation of the pilot program. At the end of the grant cycle, personnel positions will be requested of the Arkansas Legislature to secure necessary staff to expand implementation of the Reentry Court Program to additional drug court sites in other areas of the State.


Date Created: September 1, 2010