U.S. Attorney Hosts “Intensive Reentry Court Reunion”
Returning Graduates Recognized as Part of Justice Department Reentry Week
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK –United States Attorney Richard Hartunian today hosted Intensive Reentry Court Reunion: Recognizing our Partners, Celebrating our Successes, as part of the United States Department of Justice National Reentry Week. The event was held in the ceremonial courtroom at the Federal Courthouse in Syracuse, N.Y. Federal Judges, U.S. Probation Officers, the Federal Public Defenders Office, and organizations from around Central New York acknowledged the progress made over the past eight years by the program’s graduates, all former federal prisoners who have successfully returned to the community.
The Intensive Reentry Court (IRC) is a collaborative justice court for men and women recently released from prison who may pose a high risk of reoffending. Key components are reentry stakeholders – people in the community that help those transitioning from prison to society have a second chance by providing employment opportunities, treatment and counseling services, educational opportunities, legal services, housing and support and guidance.
The event today included a video, "Intensive Reentry Court: A Second Chance Begins" that captures the story and journey of several of the Syracuse Intensive Reentry Court participants and graduates. This powerful video takes the viewer through the participants’ life experiences before and after prison.
The U.S. Department of Justice designated April 24-30, 2016 as National Reentry Week and each of the 93 United States Attorney’s Office is holding reentry events. "Supporting successful reentry is an essential part of our mission to promote public safety" said Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates. "If we can reduce recidivism by helping individuals return to productive, law-abiding lives, we will reduce crime across this country, make our prisons safer, and make our neighborhoods better places to live."
United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said: "The successful reentry of a defendant is crucial for the individual, the community, and public safety. Recidivism rates that are simply too high, reflecting a revolving door through the criminal justice system and back, must be reduced. The United States Attorney’s Office has been a proud partner in the Northern District of New York’s Intensive Reentry Court since its inception, long before the current initiative, and remains invested in the intensive work needed to help people turn their lives around and become productive and law-abiding. We honor the IRC graduates and those who have helped them seize their second chance."
The Northern District of New York began the first session of the Intensive Reentry Court ("IRC") in December 2008. The IRC in Syracuse is currently led by United States Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter, with participation from United States Senior Probation Officer Liana Snyder and Probation Officer Joe Perez, Assistant Federal Public Defender Randi Bianco, and Assistant United States Attorney Tamara Thomson.
In 2010, the NDNY expanded the IRC program to include a second court in Albany, N.Y. The Syracuse IRC program has 8 current participants.