Parole Reentry Court

Overview

The Harlem Community Justice Center, in cooperation with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Division of Parole, helps parolees returning to the Harlem community make the transition from life in prison to responsible citizenship. The Justice Center links parolees to a wide range of social services, including drug treatment, transitional employment and vocational services, health care and mental health treatment. Where appropriate, these services are also offered to family members as well to help increase stability in the home. To promote increased accountability, participants are required to return to the Justice Center frequently to meet with case managers and parole officers and appear before an administrative law judge, who closely monitors their compliance with court orders. The goal is to prevent parolees from re-offending by helping them find jobs and assume familial and personal responsibility. To read the latest research about the Harlem Reentry Court, click here.

How It Works

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. speaks at a graduation of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court.Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. speaks at a graduation of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court.The Harlem Community Justice Center's work with parolees is based on the following principles:

Comprehensive Information: Potential participants undergo a pre-release assessment in prison to determine their suitability for the program. Parole staff in correctional facilities work closely with Justice Center staff to develop detailed profiles of participating inmates that include information about medical status (including mental health), addiction, criminal involvement, living arrangements, vocational skills and family composition. Based on this information, a customized treatment and supervision plan is prepared for each participant.

Accountability: After their release, parolees appear frequently at the Justice Center to report on their compliance with the treatment and supervision plans. To promote compliance, the Justice Center uses graduated sanctions and rewards. Sanctions for misbehavior, missed appointments and "dirty" urine samples may include curfews, increased court appearances and, in the most serious cases, return to prison. Rewards, which provide positive reinforcement for positive behavior, include reduced court reporting and relaxation of travel restrictions

Coordinated Services: The Justice Center emphasizes early identification of parolees' needs and speedy links to programs that deal with concerns that may affect successful community reintegration. To improve service delivery, Justice Center staff, parole officers and service providers convene regular case conferences. When appropriate, parole officers and reentry court staff will meet with the family members of parolees to encourage their assistance and support. The Justice Center has access to both on-site and community-based vocational and treatment services.

Aftercare: After fulfilling the requirements of their treatment plan, participants' cases will continue to be monitored by the Justice Center to ensure compliance with parole conditions. Where parolees have committed infractions, their cases will be returned to the Justice Center for further action.

Results

The Center's Harlem Community Justice Center helps parolees transition back to the neighborhood following incarceration by providing community-based services and intensive monitoring. The program has helped to reduce crime: participants are re-convicted at a rate that is 19 percent lower than a comparison group on standard parole.

Featured Research

Interviews

Importing Innovation: the Challenges and Rewards of Transplanting a Program from One Nation to Another

Importing Innovation: the Challenges and Rewards of Transplanting a Program from One Nation to Another

Simon Fulford, chief executive of Khulisa U.K., explains how and why his not-for-profit brought a successful South African prisoner reentry program to the United Kingdom.

Audio

Studying Reentry: A Conversation about Research and Reentry Courts

Studying Reentry: A Conversation about Research and Reentry Courts

Christine H. Lindquist, a senior research sociologist at RTI International, talks about reentry courts, recidivism, and what she's learned so far from a multi-year study funded by the US Department of Justice.

Publications

From Drug Court to Classroom: Creating a Court to College Program (Practitioners Manual)

From Drug Court to Classroom: Creating a Court to College Program (Practitioners Manual)

By Corey Calabrese, Valerie Raine and Gregg Roth

This Practitioners Manual provides step-by-step guidance for drug court teams looking to help participants pursue higher education. The other three manuals provide support for participants, interns, and trainers.

Harlem Community Justice Center Blog
  • August 26, 2014
    Do Criminal Justice Risk Assessment Tools Perpetuate Bias?

    An interesting article on Vox explores the use of evidence-based risk assessments tools in sentencing decisions and poses the provocative question:...

    Read More
  • August 25, 2014
    2014 Harlem Family Reentry Day Block Party

    On Saturday August 23, the Harlem Community Justice Center organized its annual Harlem Reentry Family Day Block Party.  The day began with an...

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  • August 14, 2014
    A Journey of Love: Circles of Support Volunteer Profiles

     Service is not limited to one demographic or approach. Just ask Sha Ron Mason, a chaplain at Word Enlightenment Church of Jesus Christ, who has...

    Read More
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