Grant will continue DA’s program |

Grant will continue DA’s program

A recently-awarded grant will allow the 9th Judicial District to continue to fund a diversion program that gives defendants charged with a minor crime a chance to wipe the slate clean, District Attorney Sherry Caloia said Friday.

The $25,409 grant from the Colorado Judicial Branch will fund the diversion program, which began in 2013, from July 1 until June 30, 2017, Caloia said.

The program allows defendants charged with crimes such as minor in possession of alcohol or marijuana and criminal mischief or harassment to be diverted from the court system, she said in a statement. Participants must complete drug or alcohol treatment, domestic-violence treatment, remain drug- and alcohol-free for three or six months and pay restitution.

If defendants successfully complete the program, the case against them is dismissed and they are able to maintain a clean criminal history. Since 2013, between 60 and 75 people have participated in the program, and 95 percent have completed it and not been seen again in court, Caloia said.

“It is my belief that our young people often times engage in this minor criminal behavior because they are immature and not cognizant of the consequences that could result,” she said in the statement. “This gives them the chance to address the behavior in a positive way and to go on to lead productive lives without the stigma of a criminal conviction.”

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