We may think that all convicted individuals should spend some time, or in some cases, a substantial amount of time behind bars for the crimes that they have committed. It is true that under the current scheme of the law, people who have transgressed against the statutes that the society has set must stand before the judgment of the bar of law and if found guilty, pay restitution for their acts. But there is another way that these individuals can pay for their transgressions and not have to go in jail, what with the congested prison system currently plaguing penal facilities.
Crime Diversion programs In the light of congested facilities in the penal system, several initiatives have taken root in the justice system designed to abet the instances of individuals from getting incarcerated for what the justice system calls non-violent or petty crimes. In California, several policy-making groups have endorsed ballot proposals that intend to address the situation of criminals committing these types of offenses to pay restitution for their crimes and for the society to satisfy the need for retribution for the transgressions that they have committed.
Diversion Programs: what are they in the first place? These are intended to aid some offenders to defeat their habits (Gorelick Law Offices). In this regard, it is the desired goal that giving counsel to the offender in lieu of just incarcerating him/her (Gorelick). It was observed that the former instead of the latter mode of dealing with criminals are achieving greater rates of success (Gorelick). In this context, the offender is allowed to use the resources available to be able to sort out his/her problems (Gorelick).
Proposition 36 In the late part of 2000, the voting public in the Big Bear state enacted a ballot proposal that would mandate certain individuals convicted of drug-related crimes to enter drug rehabilitation programs instead of incarceration (Allison Colker, 2004). The California Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, or simply Proposition 36, is not the pioneering law that seeks to mandate rehabilitation instead of incarceration for those convicted of drug related crimes (Colker, 2004).
But the Proposition has gained nationwide notice for the innovative and some times debatable provisions (Colker, 2004). Many supporters of the initiative view the controversial policy as a pragmatic approach to the problem of crime and drug addiction (Colker, 2004). But there is opposition to the new statute that argues that the proposition is a callow solution to a very multifarious problem (Colker, 2004). In the context of Proposition 36, people who are convicted users of illegal narcotics are asked to enter treatment programs as a provision in their probation programs (Gorelick).
Individuals who are drug users but have not convicted of violent offenses and those that have been caught twice for the simple offense of drug use are eligible for the diversion program (Gorelick). In a research study conducted by the California Legislative Analysts Office, it stated that the Proposition will have substantial ramifications both for state and local authorities (Colker, 2004). In the report, it is estimated that 24,000 people incarcerated for non violent illegal narcotics possession will be stationed in community based rehabilitation programs instead of languishing in state penal facilities (Colker, 2004).
Penal Code 1000 In this program, individuals who are convicted of drug related cases must attend a four month long seminar once a week (Gorelick). If the offender fulfills all the requirements in the program, then the criminal record of the individual will be expunged (Gorelick). This condition is pursuant that the offender is not accosted and is legally charged within a period of one and half years (Gorelick). In the operation of Proposition 36, the conviction and the criminal record of the offender will be removed (Wallin and Klarich).
In the Penal 1000 ambit, the record will stay with the defendant until completion of the program and probation period (Wallin and Klarich). Crime Diversion and Juvenile Crime As the term connotes, juvenile crime diversion programs are formulated to arrest the trend of juveniles committing more grievous offenses in the future (County of San Diego). While many programs vary in the composition and programs they espouse, several similarities are found in each of the programs (San Diego).
If the juvenile is arrested, the arresting authority, embodied by the police or law enforcement official, can refer the juvenile offender to a diversion program instead of incarceration (San Diego). If the juvenile offender meets the criteria set for referral, then a Juvenile Diversion Specialist will take over the disposition of the case from the police, and can recommend to the parents and the offender courses of action that the JDS will take (San Diego). Many large cities have incorporated the efforts of strict law enforcement with the option for treatment (Little Hoover Commission).
In their studies and experience, the rates of crime have significantly decreased in the adoption of preventive measures in the lowering of instances of crimes instigated by youths (Hoover). These programs have been proven to be cost effective if these programs are focused on the families of the risk sector of the children (Hoover). California has given valuable input by allocating resources in the way of prevention initiatives in the education establishment, law enforcement and the support for community based programs (Hoover).
It is here that a greater understanding on the factors of crime causation (Hoover). At present, the factors behind why crimes are committed and its prevention (Hoover). Research has allowed the viewing of factors in the causation of crime and the attendant factors behind them (Hoover). It is also seen in the past years that prevention programs and their effectiveness have been measures using scientific techniques and processes (Hoover). Communities with the assistance of state authorities have been able to formulate programs that are designed to prevent crime from juvenile individuals (Hoover).
References Colker, A. C. (2004). California’s proposition 36 and other state diversion `programs: moving drug offenders out of prison and into treatment. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www. ncsl. org/programs/health/capropib. htm County of San Diego. (n. d. ). Juvenile diversion. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www. co. san-diego. ca. us/grandjury/reports/2003_2004/JuvenileDiversion. pdf Gorelick Law Offices. (n. d. ). Diversion programs in Conta Costra and Alameda County.
Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www. gorelick-law. com/Criminal_Defense/Diversion_Programs. aspx Little Hoover Commission. (n. d. ). The opportunity of this generation. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www. lhc. ca. gov/lhcdir/159/finding2. pdf Wallin and Klarich. (n. d. ). California drug diversion program under Penal Code 1000 minimizes collateral damage. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www. southerncaliforniadefenseblog. com/2009/03/california_drug_diversion_prog. html
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