The first Veterans Treatment Court docket in Tulsa County District Court was on December 7, 2008. Since then, the court has seen the graduation of nearly 250 veterans from all branches of the military.
“Massachusetts has been a leader in this, really taking advantage of a groundswell across the nation of general support for good reentry (programming),” said Nicole Jarrett, director of the National Reentry Resource Center.
“We have so much to offer,” 62-year-old Mark Thompson told me, referring to the many reformed old-timers behind the wall. “It makes more sense helping younger guys understand their anger and addiction out there,” he said, “than dealing with it in here.”
Minnesota’s federal reentry court is now one of about 60 nationwide, but it’s the only one that matches participants with mentors from the community, some of whom have their own stories of readjusting to life after being locked up.
Under the old system, Boulder County truant students, accompanied by a parent or guardian, were required to appear in court every two weeks—with students missing even more school and some parents losing jobs because they were forced to miss work.
To date, none of the participants in the reentry program have been rearrested for a new offense and some have even gone on to attend college said Ashley Rohm, coordinator for the Cumberland County Adult Reentry Program. “These are people who came from our community and will be returning to our community,” she said. “Why wouldn’t we want to help them?”
Participants in workforce development courses will learn to write resumes and conduct mock interviews.
Unlike most mentoring programs in the United States, which offer a few months or years of involvement, Friends of the Children offers kids 12 years of continuous mentorship from kindergarten to high school graduation.
Of the 131 people who have graduated from the Orleans Parish Criminal District Reentry Court since 2010, only 13 percent of them have returned to prison within three years.
On any given day, more than 50,000 minors – more than 70 percent of whom come from minority communities – are detained in residential placement facilities across the United States.