This is a quick resource page to give you the facts you need to understand the system and process involved with the East Baton Rouge Re-Entry Court System. If you have more questions please contact us here.
What is the 19th Judicial District (JDC) Re-Entry Court Program?
Revised Status 13:5401 et seq requires that re-entry courts establish both sentencing and workforce development programs and procedures. The goal of the Re-Entry Program is to reduce crime, combat recidivism and enhance public safety in Louisiana. The 19th JDC, working in concert with the District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Defense Attorneys, the Department of Corrections and others, collaborate to accept pleas; and determine the eligibility and suitability for re-entry program participation. Upon approval for re-entry program participation, offenders are then sentenced to a minimum of two years at Louisiana State Penitentiary and/or Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women for participation in the Offender Rehabilitation and Workforce Development Program. Upon completion of the program, re-entrants receive intensive supervision—for up to five years--by the 19th JDC Re-Entry Court Judge and an assigned Probation and Parole Officer.
Offenders serve their sentence under the guidance of offender mentors (vocational, social and spiritual) that are serving life sentences.
The “lifers” teach program participants life skills like anger management, parenting and managing finances. The life skills supplement the educational component where offenders learn trades such as automotive and small engine repair, carpentry, welding, culinary arts, horticulture, drywall installation, generator and HVAC repair, commercial painting, masonry and plumbing.
Who is eligible to participate in the program?
Defendants who are being considered for Re-Entry Court participation must be facing a sentence of 10 years or less, must consent to a drug test at the time of expressed interest in the program and must be referred by one of the criminal court judges in the 19th JDC with the consent of the Assistant District Attorney, defense counsel, and the Re-Entry Judge (Judge Trudy M. White).
Once accepted, an offender will be required to obtain a GED if he does not have a GED or a high school diploma. He/she must satisfactorily complete the coursework for a least one of the areas of instruction offered by the Offender Rehabilitation & Workforce Program.
What do the words “eligible” and “suitable” mean when considering re-entry participants?
Violent or sex offenders are ineligible for program participation. Eligible applicants must meet the above described eligibility criteria.
How can I sign-up for Re-entry Court if I have not been referred by a Judge?
Again, defendants who are not currently serving jail time, but are awaiting to enter pleas and be sentenced, may be referred for consideration by one of the criminal court judges in the 19th JDC, by an Assistant District Attorney, defense counsel (including private attorneys and public defenders) and the Re-Entry Judge (Judge Trudy M. White).
If I sign up for the Re-entry Court, am I guaranteed Judicial Release?
The Re-Entry Court Judge is the sole judge of whether satisfactory progress has been made and whether a participant has successfully completed the Re-Entry Program and qualifies for judicial release. After completing the Angola Workforce Development Program, the Re-Entry Court will consider releasing the defendant to a term of intensive supervised probation. The Participant agrees and understands that if he fails to successfully complete either the Offender Rehabilitation and Workforce Development Program at Angola or the Re-Entry Court Program at the 19th Judicial District Court, he will be terminated from the program and required to serve the remainder of his original sentence in the custody of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
What types of cases are considered for this Court program?
Only non-violent crimes are considered for participation.
What will be required once I complete the Re-Entry Court Program and are released?
After successful completion of the “in custody” program, the offender will be placed in an intensive “after care” program supervised by Judge Trudy M. White with the support of the Division of Probation and Parole. As part of the “after care” program, the Court will partner with numerous vendors who will provide jobs, housing, transportation and other support services tailored to the specific offender’s needs.
How is the Re-Entry Court Program funded?
The 19th Judicial District Court has received a one year grant through the Huey and Angelina
Wilson Foundation’s (HAWF) Prison Reentry Initiative. The aim of this initiative is to support 10 parishes on the Greater Baton Rouge area to create a continuum of care that fully prepares incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals for successful re-entry. Like the mission of the 19th JDC Re-Entry Court, the HAWF Prison Initiative’s intent is to create a dramatic reduction in the percentage of formerly incarcerated residents who return to prison while increasing the cost-savings in the community impacted by successful re-entry strategies of those impacted and their families.
The 19th JDC Re-entry staff is optimistic toward the receipt of HAWF grant funds for an additional two years.