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November 5, 2013

Law students rethink Reentry Court

Students are engaged in designing new support system

The Appropriate Dispute Resolution Center at Oregon Law has announced that it is developing an innovative program in support of the federal Reentry Court in Oregon. This fall, law students Logan Krochalis, Aly Tardie, Lauren Boyd and Jason Ormsby will be designing this exciting new clinical-style offering for the ADR Center, under the supervision of Professor Jen Reynolds

Established in 2005, Oregon's Reentry Court is an evidence-based, voluntary program for people under federal supervision that emphasizes and encourages sobriety, employment and constructive problem-solving skills. Oregon's Reentry Court is recognized nationally as a leading example of progressive, proactive approaches to reducing recidivism. The new program designed by the law students will analyze and assess the reentry process, as well as create new opportunities for other law students to become involved.

"The work of the Reentry Court itself is alternative and innovative, from the development of micro-skills in conflict resolution to the rethinking of court systems and other bureaucracies that participants deal with. Rethinking court systems is one of the hallmarks of the alternative movement," Professor Reynolds said.

Chief Judge of the District Court of Oregon Ann Aiken, who oversees the Oregon Reentry Court, serves as the principal client for the project. Additionally, Melissa Aubin, attorney advisor for the District of Oregon and Oregon Law adjunct instructor, and Will Blasher, chief probation officer, are also heavily involved in overseeing and advising students and the new program.

The four students will begin by examining reentry procedures not only in Oregon, but also in other districts, and creating an annotated diagram to outline the process. Then, they will assess the needs and benefits of individuals involved in the program to gain an understanding of the most successful methods. They also will catalog how law students will be able to support the reentry court. Finally, they will conclude their research and design by proposing a recommendation for a new program – which may be a new clinic, externship, class or other system that the students believe most appropriate and effective.

Designing a program, in itself, benefits the students. "In addition to creating a new offering at the law school that supports important work at the Court, we are teaching the students about design. System design is an important emerging sub-field of ADR. The students will be able to use their design skills – data collection, assessment, analysis, and recommendations – in organizational and other systems design contexts," said Professor Reynolds.

Find out more about the Reentry Court here.

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