Goshen. New Pre-Arrest Diversion Program is designed to refer people for drug treatment vs. filing charges

| 25 Jan 2021 | 07:41

Orange County has announced the creation of a Pre-Arrest Diversion Program, designed to refer to drug treatment, if appropriate, those accused of some drug crimes, rather than filing charges against them in court.

After investigating a case, if an officer believes that a subject would benefit from drug treatment, and the individual is interested in treatment, the officer, instead of charging the subject with a crime, can refer the subject for assistance from Hope Not Handcuffs-Hudson Valley (HNH).

HNH uses volunteers to assist those in need of drug treatment to find appropriate services. If HNH can’t assist the person, the officer can refer the person to Orange County’s Crisis Help Line at 311, and the Help Line might be able to assist the person.

If the individual is successful in treatment, no charges will be filed.

If the individual is unsuccessful, the District Attorney’s office and other stakeholders will discuss whether to file charges at that point.

“We believe that pre-arrest diversion will spur more people to get the treatment and assistance they need, and that will change the direction of their lives, while reducing addiction and needless overdose deaths,” said Paul Rickard, Mount Hope Police Department chief and Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County president.

District Attorney David Hoovler added he hoped the program is “a vehicle to steer many users away from drugs, and away from the criminal justice system, so that they can live healthy and productive lives, without the stigma of criminal convictions hanging over their heads.”

To learn more, contact Executive Assistant District Attorney Leah Canton at 291-2050, or by email to ocdadiversion@orangecountygov.com.

- Nancy Kriz