Louisiana Reentry Court Promotes Seamless Transition between Sentencing, Incarceration and Post Release Services – Some Potential Exportable Elements

5 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2017 Last revised: 22 Mar 2017

See all articles by William Knight

William Knight

St. Tammany Parish Government

Caroline Cooper

Justice Consultant, Researcher

David B. Wexler

University of Puerto Rico - School of Law; University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Date Written: February 15, 2017

Abstract

This article describes a reentry court program with a number of unusual and “exportable” features that was first established in Louisiana’s 22nd Judicial District (St. Tammany and Washington Parishes) and now being implemented statewide. Under the leadership of Judge William Knight, the program targets “high risk/high needs” offenders with multiple prior felony convictions for nonviolent property and substance abuse offenses who often face prison sentences of 10-25 years but, pursuant to specially enacted legislation, are released after serving two years in prison to then participate in the community-based reentry court program. Among the program’s noteworthy features include: (1) the use of “split sentencing” permitting the sentencing judge to retain jurisdiction following prison release, with the sentencing judge also serving as the reentry court judge retaining supervision authority and ability to support the defendant’s efforts to achieve post-release program goals; (2) seamless transition from institutional confinement to community based services, with the defendant being brought to the court and the sentencing/reentry judge upon release; (3) continuity of the participant/case management relationship from sentencing through incarceration with regular visits of the case manager while he/she is incarcerated; (4) on-going multi-agency collaboration to provide the sentencing, service delivery and supervisory framework for the program; (5) public/private partnerships to promote a continuum of care starting at sentencing through program completion and aftercare, including housing, education, job training, job placement, and family/community support; and (6) regular status hearings conducted by the sentencing/reentry court judge at the prison during the period of incarceration to establish clear expectations for the participant while he or she is incarcerated and to solidify the connection and relationships between the court and the participant prior to release.

Keywords: therapeutic jurisprudence, sentencing, corrections, probation, reentry court, split sentencing, procedural justice

Suggested Citation

Knight, William and Cooper, Caroline and Wexler, David B., Louisiana Reentry Court Promotes Seamless Transition between Sentencing, Incarceration and Post Release Services – Some Potential Exportable Elements (February 15, 2017). Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 17-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2926512 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2926512

William Knight

St. Tammany Parish Government ( email )

21490 Koop Dr.
Mandeville, LA 70471
United States

Caroline Cooper (Contact Author)

Justice Consultant, Researcher ( email )

No Address Available

David B. Wexler

University of Puerto Rico - School of Law ( email )

PO Box 23349
San Juan.PR, AZ 00931
Puerto Rico
787-565-1625 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: https://law.arizona.edu/david-b-wexler

University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
787-565-1625 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: https://law.arizona.edu/david-b-wexler

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