Nearly 40 non-violent 18- to 21-year-old offenders have been given a second chance at a clean record under a new misdemeanor-diversion program in Durham.
In an email to City Council members, Gudrun Parmer, director the Durham County Criminal Justice Resource Center, updated city officials on the Adult Misdemeanor Diversion Program for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
The program, implemented in October 2015, allows an arresting officer to determine whether an individual qualifies for the program, which is mirrored on a similar program available to those ages 16 and 17. Incidents involving firearms, sexual offenses and traffic matters rule the program out.
Instead of being formally charged with an offense, first-time, non-violent offenders ages 18 to 21 get 90 days to complete workshops tailored to their charges. Those workshops might include alcohol and drug education, employment and work-force initiatives and conflict-resolution classes.
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The program, which can serve about 60 young men and women, is free to participants.
A total of 42 individuals were referred to the program beginning in October, according to Parmer. Thirty-eight completed it.
Their charges included: larceny (22), possession of marijuana (18), possession of drug paraphernalia (10), possession of stolen goods (2), trespass (2), and possession of a weapon, brass knuckles, (1). Some of the youth had more than one charge, such as possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.