Cuyahoga County Re-Entry Court
The Re-Entry Court (REEC) was established to address the needs of offenders transitioning from prison back into the community.
REEC was started Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in 2007 and was funded through the Office of Criminal Justice Services. This specialized docket is presided over by Judge Nancy Margaret Russo.
What REEC Does
The Cuyahoga County REEC provides intensive programming and supervision to eligible offenders by preparing case plans that center on specific client needs.
These needs include education, employment, housing, substance abuse, and mental health treatment that provide the best possible opportunities to succeed after their release. REEC uses the power of judicial authority to aggressively monitor released offenders. This increases public safety and connects offenders to agencies and community organizations that provide necessary services.
Who is Eligible for REEC?
Eligible offenders can be identified at sentencing and evaluated by REEC prior to transport to prison. An offender can also apply after incarceration, in compliance with the judicial release statutory requirements of the amount of time that must be served in order to be eligible for general judicial release.
If an offender is identified by the sentencing Judge at the time of sentencing, or the offender’s attorney wishes to have the person interviewed by REEC prior to transport, the REEC must be notified. This allows for a REEC interview to be scheduled prior to transport.
Consideration for REEC
In order to be considered for REEC, offenders can either:
- File an Application for REEC (applications are available from the Court’s website, in the prisons from the case managers, or from REEC Judge Nancy Margaret Russo)
- The offender can either file a pro se Motion for Judicial Release, or have counsel file the Motion for Judicial Release.
Offenders sentenced by Judge Nancy A. Fuerst will not be referred to REEC. Offenders may still file general motions for Judicial Release, but cannot be transferred to REEC.
All applications which meet minimum criteria are sent for review and evaluation to REEC Judge Nancy Margaret Russo. The Judge reviews the case information, case manager input, the Institutional Summary, the Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) where available, letters for support and programming history, and other documentation. Upon completion of that review, Judge Russo will make a determination as to whether the person is eligible or ineligible. If the person is eligible, Judge Russo then determines whether the person will be accepted for REEC Participation.
In the event the REEC Judge determines a person is both eligible and accepted, the final decision about participation lies with the Sentencing Judge. In those cases where the offender is eligible and accepted, and the Sentencing Judge is in agreement, the Sentencing Judge will transfer jurisdiction to the REEC Judge, who will order transport of the offender for a hearing, and a Judicial Release hearing, to be held by the REEC Judge.
In the event the REEC Judge determines a person is eligible and accepted, but the Sentencing Judge declines to transfer jurisdiction, the REEC Judge will place the appropriate journal entry on the docket and transfer all information reviewed to the Sentencing Judge. If there is a Motion for Judicial Release pending and the person is not accepted by REEC and transferred to the REEC Judge, then the Sentencing Judge will make a determination about the pending Motion for Judicial Release. Denial of REEC, or declination of the Sentencing Judge to transfer, does not mean the Motion for Judicial Release is denied; it simply means that the person cannot participate in the programming and benefits of REEC. A Sentencing Judge can deny REEC transfer and still grant a Motion for general Judicial Release, or the Sentencing Judge can deny transfer to REEC and deny the Motion for Judicial Release. Please note that the REEC Judge does not advocate for persons to be transferred; the decision to transfer, upon acceptance, rests solely with the Sentencing Judge, and the REEC Judge and Team respect and abide by the final decision of the Sentencing Judge.
Journal Entries/Phone Calls to REEC
Any time the REEC Judge has taken action on an application or Motion, a journal entry will be placed on the offender’s docket.
REEC will not respond to phone inquiries about the status of any application or Motion.
Please review the docket for answers to any questions. Offenders who have applied and have questions are directed to contact their case managers who, in turn, will contact REEC. Offenders who have counsel and have filed a Motion for Judicial Release, should contact their attorneys to contact the Court.