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New Diversion Program for Parents Begins in San Francisco

February 12, 2020

The program was introduced by San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin

New Diversion Program for Parents Begins in San Francisco

In the California criminal justice system, there are a number of diversion programs that are designed to give people accused of minor crimes a second chance. These programs focus on treatment, rather than punishment. For example, if a person is charged with simple possession of a drug, they may be eligible to participate in a diversion program where they go to rehab instead of jail. The charge will be dismissed upon successful completion of the program.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has recently launched a new type of diversion program aimed at parents who are charged with non-violent crimes. Under the program, parents who are primary caregivers of their children can participate in diversion rather than going to jail. Boudin was inspired to create the program because of his own childhood experience. His parents were incarcerated in New York for their role as getaway drivers during a robbery of an armored car.

Under the program, which was authorized by Senate Bill 394, individuals who are charged with non-violent offenses can have their cases drop if they receive services and complete parenting or other rehabilitative classes for a minimum of 6 months. Defendants will only be eligible if they are charged with a misdemeanor or non-violent, non-serious felony. They must also be the primary caregiver of a child under the age of 18. Parents who commit crimes against their children or who are considered risks to public safety do not qualify for the program.

As a criminal defense lawyer in Santa Ana, CA can explain, this program may help to reduce the physical and emotional harm that occurs where children are separated from parents. In addition, it may help to reduce the likelihood that the children will be incarcerated later in life. Because parents will be required to receive treatment as part of the program, it may also reduce the rate of re-offending.

While San Francisco is the first city and county to adopt this diversion program, all counties in California have the option of adding it to their roster of alternatives to incarceration. Although critics claim that it gives parents a “get out of jail free” card, the goal of the program is to empower parents to resolve their issues so that they can remain with their children — and break the intergenerational cycle of crime that often occurs when a parent is incarcerated.

If you have been charged with a non-violent crime, there are a number of options under California law for resolving your case without incarceration. A skilled criminal defense lawyer in Santa Ana, CA can work with you to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case, which may include a diversion program, probation, community service, or other types of alternatives to jail or prison time.

The Chambers Law Firm represents individuals in California who have been charged with a criminal offense. We offer zealous advocacy that is focused on getting the best outcome for you and your family. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com to schedule a free initial consultation.

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