JAC's RE-ENTRY & COLLABORATIVE LAWYERING PROJECTS
JAC provides civil legal services to formerly and currently incarcerated individuals. For help with a legal issue, please attend our next Reentry Legal Clinic. Legal Clinics are posted on our events calendar and advertised through social media as they are scheduled. Submit your email below to get updates on when our next legal clinics are scheduled.
The State of Louisiana arrests and incarcerates more people per capita than any other place in the world. After incarceration, residents are provided with few to no supportive services that promote economic success. Oftentimes, unresolved civil legal issues pose substantial barriers to the success of individuals re-entering and in transitioning back into society. Many of these legal problems are directly tied to or exacerbated by the time incarcerated.
The Re-Entry Program was formed to address a gap in services, to further reduce the recidivism rate, and to facilitate an individual’s economic success. The JAC Re-Entry Program uses legal services, education, and advocacy to provide access to justice and to address deficiencies in the system. First, JAC provides an initial assessment of what legal services an individual might need. For example, after release from jail or prison, a defendant may need help with debts that went unpaid due to incarceration. Next, JAC assembles a team of attorneys that works collaboratively with JAC to resolve legal matters. During this time, JAC and the team offer periodic free workshops or classes to attorneys in the program. Finally, JAC monitors opportunities for systemic advocacy on behalf of and alongside individuals directly impacted. Our success is measured by the number of individuals who have not returned to the criminal justice system due to collateral issues after graduating the program.
JAC's Collaborative Lawyering project creates an innovative method of service delivery for individuals who are enrolled with a partnering social service provider. This initiative expands JAC's direct services model in re-entry by addressing the collateral impact of contact with the criminal justice system.
The Re-Entry Court Project
Louisiana implemented a Re-Entry Court program in 2010 to facilitate economic success for citizens convicted of an offense. The goal of the Re- Entry Program is to reduce crime, combat recidivism, and enhance public safety. For more information on the Re-Entry Court Program, visit the Re-Entry Court website administered by Judge Schlegel of the 24th Judicial District in Jefferson Parish.
This multifaceted court based program created by statute combines the supervision of the courts, the cooperation of correctional system, and the guidance of social service organizations to reduce recidivism rates in Louisiana.
Since 2010, the Re-Entry Court program has successfully reduced recidivism rates for program graduates and saved taxpayer funds. Recidivism rates are usually an average of 28-50% within the first three years. By contrast, the recidivism rate for program graduates is about 10% annually. Within 5 years of its inception, Re- Entry Court graduates have decreased their likelihood for recidivism by 400%. Additionally, incarceration costs are $53.31 per person per day or $19,458.15 annually. Supervision costs for Re-Entry Court participant probation are currently only $2.56 per person per day or $934.40 annually. With 30 participants in Orleans Parish alone, the Re-Entry Court program has saved taxpayers over $555,000 annually.
Yet unresolved civil legal issues pose barriers to the success of reentry participants in transitioning back into society. Many of these legal problems are directly tied to or exacerbated by the time incarcerated. This Re-Entry Court Collaborative was formed to address this gap in services and to further reduce the recidivism rate amongst current and future program participants to facilitate their economic success. This is critical as the number of participants served by Re-Entry Courts expands every year. The potential for recidivism is compounded by a lack of access to justice for Re-Entry Court participants. The Louisiana Sate Bar Association LIFT Program, the SLLS, the VOTE-NOLA, the First 72+ and JAC have created a program to meet the needs of Re-Entry Court participants.
The Eden House Project
JAC incubated the Eden House project for three years to create an architecture that is responsive to participant needs and successful outcomes.
JAC's Collaborative Lawyering project creates an innovative method of service delivery for individuals who are enrolled with a partnering social service provider. JAC began a partnership with Eden House in 2013. The partnership began with providing expungements and criminal justice education to residents. Very quickly, we learned that Eden House residents had more substantial legal needs. This prompted JAC to create a program that worked collaboratively with private public interest attorneys. The resulting program, borne out of the need expressed by Eden House residents, provides attorneys who work at a reduced rate toward a collective mission to reduce recidivism and mass incarceration trends. This is the foundation for the entirety of the JAC Re-Entry Collaborative Lawyering Program.
Currently, JAC provides Eden House residents with access to attorneys who provide a number of services that include:
Child Support Disputes
Consumer Advocacy & Credit Disputes
Criminal Defense (limited)
Government Benefit Appeals
JAC Re-Entry Story Project
Have you wanted the public to know your story of reentry? Some of the difficulties you have faced? The success you have managed? Do you have a suggestion on how the criminal justice system could work better for public safety and reentry? JAC WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU! JAC has set up a voicemail service that will record your story. Periodically, we will assemble the stories into a radio show that will air on WHIVFM.org and included on JAC's playlist on SoundCloud. Ready to tell your story? See Frequently Asked Questions below. Think you're ready? Call us now! 504-383-5707.
Be sure to check out the All Rise Radio Hour that focuses on learning more about our criminal justice system from experts and advocates.
What does JAC want to hear?
JAC wants to hear YOUR story the way that YOU tell it. Whether it's about reuniting with your family upon release from incarceration or your fears during the criminal justice process, JAC wants to hear from you.
Can JAC help me figure out what to say?
Only you can determine what story you want to tell.
Will anyone else hear my story?
Your story will be public. Be sure that you are comfortable with others hearing it. Other people include the general public and the district attorney who prosecuted you. If it's a detail about your case, always check with your attorney first.
What if I don't want to leave my name?
You do not have to leave your real name. You can use a fake name. Whether you leave your real or a fake name, you MUST leave a contact number. JAC will verify your story by contacting you at a later date.
When will I know that my story is being used publicly?
Ideally, we would like to be able to dedicate a full All Rise Radio Hour episode to the Reentry Story Project. If we do not have enough stories to fill at least a portion of a show, then we will have to wait until we are able to assemble a solid show. The best way to know when your story might be used is to subscribe to JAC's Newsletter so that you can keep updated on air dates!
What's the point of telling my story?
More often than not, each of us are our own best advocates. Instead of having JAC tell your story for you, we want friends and supporters to hear from you directly. It's your voice and people should hear it.