The LAPD has announced a new pilot program to direct adults arrested for minor crimes to community support programs rather than face harsher legal consequences.
According to the Daily News, the LAPD will work in conjunction with the Los Angeles County’s Alternatives to Incarceration Office to launch the Pre-File Diversion Program.
The program aims to send people arrested for certain misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies to community support programs as an alternative to facing criminal charges, prosecution and jail time.
City Attorney Mike Feuer said the plan may be more effective in reforming individuals than jail time.
“In many cases treatment and services can be much more effective than brief time in jail,” he said.
“This pilot program provides intervention rather than prosecution, recovery rather than the status quo. It is an important addition to the numerous justice reform programs my office already offers.”
Arrestees will apparently be screened by law enforcement for eligibility for the program based on their crime and past criminal history. The City Attorney’s Office said in a statement that law enforcement will use a criteria developed by prosecuting agencies as part of the screening. According to the criteria, those who qualify for the program either have substance abuse problems, mental health problems or are homeless.
Afterwards, arrestees who are eligible for the program will be referred to service providers who will assess their needs, create a treatment plan, and ensure that each individual is able to access the services. If necessary, individuals will be connected to other resources such as shelter and transport.
The LAPD said that the program is intended to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety. They also confirmed that no police report will be filed during an arrestee’s treatment, and will be archived when they complete the program.
If the arrestee completes the program (usually three months for a misdemeanor and nine months for a felony charge), then criminal charges will not be filed. However, if an individual leaves the program before completing it, they will face “an appropriate response” by prosecuting agencies.