Re-Entry Court Celebrates First Graduates

On Feb. 3, 2011, the first participants in the Western District’s Re-Entry Court program graduated, demonstrating their personal achievement and the success of the program itself, which is designed to provide an alternative for individuals on federal supervised release with significant substance abuse treatment needs.


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Left to Right:  Courtney Pierce (USPO),
Kimberly Grace (Sr. USPO),
David Gunter (USPO),
Johnathan Smith (USPO) and
Julie Spratley (Sr. Probation Clerk)
Re-Entry Court participants
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U.S. District Judge
Ortrie D. Smith

U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith presided over the graduation session of Re-Entry Court and continues to shepherd the programalong with U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Maughmer.  Re-Entry Court is accomplished through partnerships and collaborations between the court, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Public Defender’s Office, U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Office, and various community resources.  Its goal is to improve participant outcomes, thereby reducing recidivism, conserving judicial resources and making a positive difference in the lives of the participants.

Judge Smith convened the first Re-Entry Court in 2010 with four voluntary participants.  The program spans 12 to 18 months, depending on the participant’s progress.   Nancy Rainey, Stephen Ingala and Matt Stone, three of the initial participants, completed all of the program requirements in just a year and received additional rewards for achieving certain milestones.  However, failure to abide by the mandates of the Re-Entry Court could have resulted in the imposition of sanctions by Judge Smith, including termination from the program.

At the conclusion of the Feb. 3 session, Judge Smith issued an order reducing the terms of supervised release for Rainey, Ingala and Stone per their completion of the strenuous requirements of the program.  They will now return to the traditional caseload of a probation officer for the remainder of their terms of supervision. 

After the ceremony, the graduates celebrated their achievements outside the courtroom with family members, friends, employers, members of the Re-Entry Court team and Judge Smith.  Of the 15 current participants, it is anticipated three more will graduate this June.

After the ceremony, the graduates celebrated their achievements outside the courtroom with family members, friends, employers, members of the Re-Entry Court team and Judge Smith.  Of the 15 current participants, it is anticipated three more will graduate this June.

Read the article published in The Kansas City Star at http://www.kansascity.com/2011/03/27/2756943/lucky-ex-cons-get-special-help.html.

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Judge Smith presides over Re-Entry Court graduation.
 
Judge Smith presents Matthew Stone with a $100 gift certificate.
 
Family members enjoy refreshments.

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