New partnership between FSPD and Harbor House to decriminalize some misdemeanor offenses
The Fort Smith Police Department and Harbor House, Inc., announced the launch of a new program today designed to reduce recidivism among misdemeanor offenders and get help to those in need.
The Fort Smith Pre-Arrest Diversion Program (FSPAD) will begin on Nov. 9. The program will provide direct access to intervention resources and information to enable FSPD Officers the discretion of diverting individuals who commit eligible minor misdemeanor offenses away from the criminal justice system.
The program will give subjects the opportunity to voluntarily access mental health, behavioral health, and substance abuse treatment instead of immediate incarceration.
Eligibility offense requirements for subjects include the following:
-Age 18 or older
-Not at risk to themselves or others
-No prior sexual or violent offenses
-Committed one of the pertinent misdemeanor offenses which include possession of marijuana paraphernalia, disorderly conduct, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, misdemeanor criminal trespass, misdemeanor theft of property, misdemeanor criminal mischief, minor in possession, and solicitation of prostitution.
The stated goal of the FSPAD program is to increase community safety and well-being by offering direct access to intervention and information that reduces the likelihood of recidivism.
This will also allow Officers to prioritize more pressing public safety issues.
"The Fort Smith Police Department in partnership with Harbor House Inc. is dedicated to developing new ideas to address underlying issues that often contribute to the cycle of minor misdemeanor offenses." _ Fort Smith Police Department Press Release.
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