Two new courts will be launched soon within San Francisco thanks to a $2 million in grants from federal stimulus funds. These courts won’t be more of the same, however. Instead they will be designed solely to handle parolees and probationers.
According to the San Francisco Examiner, the largest portion of the money will go to a Superior Court Parole Reentry Court. This court will assist people who are coming out of prison.
Providing much needed services, the Reentry Court will assist parolees in obtaining employment, gaining education, receiving counseling, and other necessary programming. Inmates who have spend time in prison often have a difficult time readjusting to life beyond the prison walls. The community support or lack thereof is linked to the likelihood that they will reoffend.
The other court being established with these federal dollars will be targeted at probationers. Called the Probation Accountability Court, this one will be focusing on people who violate the terms of their probation. But, instead of sending them directly to jail for their violations, the court will use community resources to assist the probationers in regaining their footing within the community.
When you receive a suspended sentence (probation), you must adhere to a set of conditions. These may include a curfew, drug testing, maintaining employment, and drug treatment, just to name a few. If your probation officer decides that you aren’t following these conditions, you can be violated and your original prison sentence invoked.
Probation violations cost an obscene amount of money as even a minor violation can send you directly to jail. This new Accountability Court will give probationers found in violation another chance, so to speak. It won’t make prison the first option and will help probationers find tools to be successful while under supervision within the community.
Both courts are a step in the right direction in an attempt to reduce criminal recidivism, or the likelihood that someone will reoffend. This takes community resources and a real effort on the part of the criminal justice system.
As a criminal defendant, you want to believe that the courts want you to succeed. But, with how overburdened and how one-sided the system is, it can be difficult to truly feel like anyone is on your side when you are facing criminal charges.
Probation and parole are both privileges and they aren’t easy. But, when you are faced with a possible prison sentence, probation can seem like a blessing.
If you’re facing charges for anything from criminal possession of marijuana to first degree assault, we may be able to help. Contact our attorneys today to speak with with a local defense attorney that can assist you with your case.