The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners recently honored the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office for creating a program dedicated to giving offenders ages 17 -25 a second chance.
The Anti-Recidivism Court was created by District Attorney Robert James in December 2011. Since the program’s inception, 22 participants have successfully completed the program.
“This unique program offers young, first-time, non-violent offenders a second chance at life,” said James. “This program does not give them a ‘get out of jail free’ pass for their mistakes, but it allows them to learn from their prior missteps through a rigorous year-long program.”
The Anti-Recidivism Court is a collaborative partnership among DeKalb County Public Defenders’ Office, DeKalb County Magistrate Court and DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office.
According to national statistics, approximately two-thirds of individuals arrested will be re-arrested within three years. “The judicial system can become a revolving door for criminals. We wanted to deliberately interrupt the cycle of recidivism here in DeKalb through this program.”
Currently, 20 participants are enrolled in the year-long Anti-Recidivism Court. As conditions of the diversion program, each participant is ordered to: report to private probation, perform community service, undergo random monitoring, report to monthly compliance hearings and abide by a curfew/electronic monitoring. Additionally, participants must pay any restitution involved with their arrest, enroll in an academic program if they have not obtained a high school diploma/GED and attend behavior modification classes.
“We focus on developing the person and providing them with the skills needed to be successful in life,” said James. “We not only provide them with life skills training but also a strict guideline to follow. Many do not complete the course. For those participants who do complete all of their requirements, they will have their cases dismissed.”