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Las Vegas Criminal Defense

Modern Justice: Diversion Programs In Lieu Of Incarceration

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Concerns surrounding the criminal justice system in the United States are well-documented. This because fully one percent of all adults in this country are currently in jail or prison—as much as ten times the rates of incarceration in democracies across the globe. Equally disturbing is the fact that over 50 percent of those behind bars are Hispanic or Black. According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the explosion in rates of incarceration cannot be attributed to a similar rise in crime.  Rather, the clearest explanation for heightened incarceration rates is the legislative decision to punish, rather than to reform, offenders.

What’s Wrong with Imprisoning Wrongdoers? 

While it is clear that some offenders do need to be locked up, there is widespread agreement that for non-violent offenders, incarceration may not be the best response. The problems associated with mass incarceration are undisputed, and the list of issues is long:

  • Children are separated from parents (more than half of inmates have minor children);
  • Communities suffer as patterns in parenting and employment are disrupted, leading to higher levels of poverty and reductions in self-efficacy;
  • Limited treatment for mental health and addiction issues behind bars results in exacerbated problems in those areas;
  • Upon release, many prisoners lack the skills to navigate the job market, secure housing, and essentially reintegrate with society.

Alternatives to Incarceration 

What is it that society wants to achieve when dealing with offenders who break the laws?  Because the majority of individuals who serve time ultimately are back in society, creating a pathway that reduces recidivism and helps to develop basic principles of citizenship seems logical.  That necessitates a focus on the underlying issues that lead to crime, and the institution of diversion programs to address individual needs in order to elevate community safety, precisely what diversion programs strive to do.  Not only do initial results look promising in terms of recidivism:  they are also markedly less expensive than the costs associated with warehousing human beings for months and years at a time. In fact, one study indicates that if one in ten individuals who qualifies for such a program were able to take advantage of them, the savings would be nearly $5 billion.

Specialty Courts in Nevada 

Nevada currently offers a number of diversion programs for individuals who have not been involved in drug trafficking or in violent criminal activity.  Programs here in Clark County include:

  • Drug Court (Adult);
  • Drug Court (Juvenile);
  • Drug Court (Family Treatment);
  • Adult Drug Court Transitional Age Program (TAP);
  • Felony DUI;
  • Mental Health Court;
  • Veterans Court;
  • OPEN Program (behavior modification);
  • Gambling Treatment Diversion Court;
  • LIMA Diversion Program (for mental health and addiction);
  • MAT Re-Entry Court (supervised treatment for opioid addiction);
  • Co-Occurring Program (for mental health and addiction).

An Alternative Path 

If you are facing charges that could put you behind bars, know that the experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at Lobo Law are determined to fight for best possible outcomes for you. Perhaps a diversion program is the answer for you. Justice is the bottom line.  Getting there often requires some fancy footwork, but we are relentless in our pursuit.  Contact our office to discuss the possibilities today.

Resource:

aclu.org/blog/smart-justice/diversion-programs-are-cheaper-and-more-effective-incarceration-prosecutors

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