Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey has unveiled a new program aimed at diverting low-level, nonviolent offenders out of the criminal justice system.
The Pre-Filing Diversion Program offers monitoring, treatment, counseling, education and other services to qualified and suitable offenders while ensuring that victims receive restitution for their crime-related financial losses. Participation is voluntary.
“This program offers low-level, nonviolent offenders the opportunity to alter their path in life,” District Attorney Lacey said. “If they complete the program, participants will avoid criminal charges that could limit their future as productive members of our community.”
The program is designed to reduce the number of low-level, nonviolent offenders entering the criminal justice system, ultimately lowering recidivism rates through rehabilitative services rather than incarceration and saving taxpayer money.
Experienced deputy district attorneys will screen cases for referral to the new diversion program in lieu of filing misdemeanor or low-level nonviolent felony charges, such as trespassing or driving a vehicle without an owner's consent. Offenders facing allegations of domestic violence, child abuse or elder abuse are ineligible for this program.
In the Pre-Filing Diversion Program, hearing officers establish the terms for each offender that address the concerns of the parties and account for public safety. In addition to monitoring and treatment, participants also may be required to complete community service hours and comply with stay-away conditions.
Offenders who fail to complete the program will be charged with crimes based on the original alleged offenses.