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April 1, 2011

Interesting report on federal reentry court program in Kansas City

A helpful reader alerted me to this interesting local article, headlined "Ex-cons get help keeping out of crime and on the job," discussing an innovative program developed in federal court in Kansas City.  Here are some details:

Under the direction of U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith, a team of probation officers, lawyers and service providers intensely focus on a group of 20 or so probationers, doing everything within reason to keep them sober, employed and crime-free.  In exchange, the participants can have years shaved off of their probation.

The work is difficult, said Kim Grace, a senior federal probation officer.  Probationers have tested positive for drugs, missed counseling sessions and failed to find employment. The larger consequences couldn’t be more serious: Be part of the two-thirds of all federal probationers who successfully manage their lives and do not return to prison or join the 33 percent who do....

Not everybody gets excited about attending federal re-entry court, which meets twice a month in a huge, wood-paneled courtroom.  Stern oil paintings of retired judges stare down at more than a dozen former offenders seated in the jury box.

On a recent Thursday afternoon, Smith sent his first re-entry court participant away in handcuffs for testing positive for marijuana use.  Another man narrowly missed the same fate — a couple of days in jail — for the same transgression.  However, he had attended job counseling as ordered.  “The very foundation of a relationship with me is trust,” Smith said.  “There are other responses to stress rather than going back to the habits you had before.”

April 1, 2011 at 09:14 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I like what you have said,it is really helpful to me,thanks!

Posted by: Big pony | Apr 11, 2011 5:59:36 AM

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