DA’s office begins adult diversion program | SkyHiNews.com

DA’s office begins adult diversion program

Sky-Hi News staff report

The 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has begun a program to help people facing certain criminal charges access necessary mental health and addiction resources.

The grant-funded adult diversion program will be in place for one year and serve Grand, Moffat and Routt counties, according to a release from the DA’s office. The purpose of the program is to provide assistance for certain offenders in order to avoid costly and ineffective repeated interactions in the criminal justice system.

Due to the state budget cuts related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the grant was 20% of what the district attorney’s office sought. Because of this, the number of participants that the program can accept next year will be reduced to maximize the efficacy of the limited resources.

District Attorney Matt Karzen said that although the program will be smaller than planned, it’s a good opportunity to build it out. He added that if the program is effective and successful, he hopes to expand it with additional funding in 2022.

“Serious mental illness and hard-core addiction are public health issues that have been pushed into the criminal justice systems in this country for too long without success,” Karzen said in the release. “I know we can find a better balance here in northwest Colorado and diversion needs to be a part of that.”

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