Sullivan County looking to join Hope Not Handcuffs

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MONTICELLO – The Sullivan County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices are working up plans to join the Hope Not Handcuffs program.

Sheriff Mike Schiff said the program being implemented in other parts of the Mid-Hudson Valley, has proven very successful.

“It is for low-level non-violent offenders and then if they do go for the treatment and they don’t follow through or they leave the program,  then we go back to the original charge and it is reinstated,” he said.

The program is similar to the drug court. “I think the difference here is just how it is set up. It is not going through the court system. It is being diverted before it gets there through the DA’s office and through law enforcement, so then we would immediately make the diversion. They would never be showing the arrest,” Schiff said.

The concept behind Hope Not Handcuffs is for an individual facing a low-level crime to seek help directly at a police station where a volunteer “angel” from the program would be called in to assist the person in gaining help for their problem.