The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) launched a program to take people arrested for non-violent felonies and stipulated misdemeanors to community support programs, rather than transporting them to lock-up and pursuing charges.
The newly formed Alternatives to Incarceration Office (ATI) and the LAPD have launched an adult diversion program that the LAPD sees as a great opportunity “in developing and participating in meaningful diversion programs which may reduce recidivism and enhance public safety.”
Prior to being transported to county jail, arrested individuals will be screened at police stations to determine if they are eligible for the program based on their offense and past criminal history. Mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness are factored into the process as well.
If deemed eligible for the program, they will be assessed by an onsite service provider to identify and arrange for the treatment or services needed, then arrange transport to the facility required.
The service provider will provide an individualized care plan and case management for every participant and will inform the prosecuting agency of program completion, which can take three to nine months depending on the charge. If the participant completes the program, no criminal charges will be filed.
Perpetrators of violent crimes are excluded from the program, disqualifying offenses included sex crimes, domestic violence, stalking, DUI’s, arson, and weapons arrests.
“In many cases, treatment and services can be much more effective than brief time in jail,” said L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, a Democrat who is running for city mayor. “This pilot program provides intervention rather than prosecution, recovery rather than the status quo.”
The program’s desired outcomes are listed as reducing arrest rates of individuals with substance abuse and mental health needs, decreasing costs related to incarceration and prosecution, and minimizing recidivism rates of program participants.