Huntsville City Council Considers Implementing Pre-Trial Diversion Program
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Huntsville City Council is now considering an alternative to jail-time for first-time and non-violent offenders.
At Thursday’s meeting, they introduced a motion to implement a Pre-Trial Diversion Program.
The program would require first-time, non-violent offenders to seek counseling, paid for out of their own pocket, and undergo regular drug testing, in hopes of preventing repeat offenses and reducing crime.
Madison County has had some form of pre-trial intervention since 1994. District Attorney Rob Broussard says it may be worth it for the city if they want to save money and space.
“If the truth be known what gives rise to things like this is lack of jail space. Truthfully,” said Broussard.,”it’s the realization you cannot put everybody in jail.”
Pre-trial diversion programs have become a cost-effective alternative to jail time or probation.
According to the District Attorney’s website, the County’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program has returned almost $640,000.00 in restitution to victims of theft and has collected over $238,000.00 in court costs in the last decade.
The programs also have the added bonus of potentially turning an offender’s life around.
“I believe you have a better chance of reaching somebody and avoiding them repeating criminal behavior,” said Broussard. “Between this and probation I think this has a better likelihood of somebody taking stock of where they are and avoiding a conviction. And that can mean they can lead a fruitful life and even get a good job.”
Offenders would be put into the program on a case-by-case basis.