The United States District Court for the Northern District of California has established a reentry court program for certain individuals on federal post-conviction supervision. The first court will be established in San Francisco, and Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero will preside. The court meets every two weeks. Additional reentry courts may be established in the district in the future.
The San Francisco reentry court focuses on individuals who are at high risk of violating the conditions of their supervision and who also have a documented history of substance abuse. Ideally, participants will be identified while they are in custody so that they may participate in the program immediately upon their release. Individuals who are on supervised release or on probation may also be eligible. Participants must agree to participate and be accepted into the program. The program lasts at least one year, and successful completion results in a one-year reduction of the term of supervision. To be eligible to participate in the reentry court, individuals must satisfy the criteria on the list attached to the Interagency Agreement.
In the reentry court, a presiding judge – with the aid of an Assistant Federal Public Defender and an Assistant United States Attorney – assists United States Probation with the supervision of participants by conducting regular court sessions attended by all participants in the program. At the court session, the judge reviews and responds to the achievements and failures of each participant. The conduct and activities supervised by the program are those typically handled by United States Probation without judicial support. The program adds the regular oversight of a defendant by a judge with a blend of treatment, education and job skills training, and sanctions alternatives to address participant behavior, rehabilitation, and the safety of our communities. Additional details on the program are included in the attached Interagency Agreement for the creation of a reentry court.
Any attorney, Assistant United States Attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender, probation officer or judge may refer a defendant to the Probation Department for possible inclusion in the program. A referral form can be found attached to the Interagency Agreement. Referral forms should be sent to the United States Probation office in San Francisco. The Probation Department will determine whether the applicants satisfy the objective eligibility criteria and will recommend participants to the Reentry court team, which will accept eligible participants on a space-available basis.
Please consult Magistrate Judge Spero's weekly court calendar for upcoming Reentry Court dates.