Hoovler: “… an effort to
prevent crime …”
GOSHEN – Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler announced that in 2015, the District Attorney’s Office will focus its efforts more often on diverting offenders into programs that serve as alternatives to criminal prosecution. Those programs will include primarily treatment and counseling programs, but also programs designed to remedy community disputes without the necessity of actions in the criminal courts.
The new philosophical focus is driven in part by Hoovler’s community outreach efforts, which are designed to root out and to address the issues underlying crime in Orange County’s communities. The effort is also driven by the county’s three-part strategy to deal with the drug epidemic, a strategy that seeks to use education and treatment opportunities first, and to use vigorous law enforcement only when education and treatment have failed to remedy the issues leading to the drug problem.
“In this country we are witnessing the beginnings of a sea change in policing and prosecution in which police and prosecutors will be focusing on using their authority to proactively address the causes of crime, in an effort to prevent crime before it happens, rather than simply reactively enforcing the law after crime is committed,” said Hoovler. “Efforts like that must involve an emphasis on getting potential offenders access to the services that they need, so that they can address life’s challenges without resorting to crime. I intend my office to lead the charge to change the way we do business, so that we can prevent crime in our communities. We will engage in vigorous enforcement of the laws when we have to, but I hope that focusing on prevention efforts will make law enforcement necessary less often.”
The diversion programs will deal primarily with misdemeanor cases, those involving drug and marijuana possession, underage drinking, shoplifting, non-alcohol-related driving offenses involving young people, at-risk women, mental health issues, and cases involving young people in general. In addition, however, the district attorney intends to make greater use of the Drug Court and Diversion Court opportunities available in Orange County Court for some low-level felony offenders. At present, approximately 20 percent of felony narcotics offenders are admitted to Drug or Diversion Court, and the District Attorney intends to support increasing that percentage through the admission of great numbers of appropriate cases.