The federal court system for the District of Minnesota operates a Reentry Court program, which seeks to reduce recidivism rates among formerly incarcerated people. Inmates at the highest risk of re-offending are provided with resources and support to help prevent their return to prison.
Rocky DeYoung is a reentry professional and helped coordinate Minnesota’s Reentry Court in the federal court system.
Minnesota’s Reentry Court also connects ex-inmates with mentors, giving them access to community members who provide advice and guidance on how to navigate the often challenging process of reintegrating into the community. The mentoring component is a unique feature of Minnesota’s Reentry Court program, differentiating it from many other programs around the country.
Odell Wilson is a Supervising U.S. Probation and Pre-trial Services Officer. He helped to formulate the Reentry Court program for the District of Minnesota at the request of former Chief Judge Michael Davis.
What we did differently in Minnesota's Reentry Court is we added a mentoring component. We meet together as a team in the courtroom. The judge is not behind the bench. We like to take the time to deal with everyone's issues. Beyond that, we ask the mentor to meet with their mentee face-to-face twice a month. If they can keep to this schedule, that’s an indication they’re serious about the process.
Reentry Court is an effort by the federal courts to address the high revocation rate with high-risk offenders coming out of the Bureau of Prisons. In the
District of Minnesota, our revocation rate is right around seventy-six percent.
So roughly eight out of every ten people are going to go back unless there is an intervention.
Odell describes the value of reintegrating formerly incarcerated individuals into the broader community.
Through prison-based vocational programs, many ex-inmates become highly trained workers who can contribute needed, specialized skills to the workforce.
Odell shares his insights into growing employer acceptance of formerly incarcerated individuals in the workforce.
Rocky describes his experience with bringing formerly incarcerated men and women into the workforce.