Previously, participants were charged a fee of $500 to $700 to enter the program; the new flat fee of $50 reduces the cost by 90 percent or more
VANCOUVER – Effective Aug. 15, the City Attorney’s Office began offering participation in its criminal prosecution diversion program at a reduced price of $50 for qualified community members who have limited financial means.
“The City Attorney’s Office seeks opportunities to lawfully balance inequities that have long existed and repair imperfections in our systems,” said City Attorney Jonathan Young. “This equity-based change helps us avoid criminalizing individuals based on their inability to pay.”
Previously, participants were charged a fee of $500 to $700 to enter the program. The new flat fee of $50 reduces the cost by 90 percent or more and removes financial barriers that may have previously prevented participation based on an inability to pay.
For 20 years, the city has administered a prosecution diversion program that offers participants an alternative to traditional prosecution. If successfully completed, participants have pending criminal charges dismissed and avoid the consequences of a criminal conviction, including jail time and barriers to accessing education, housing and employment opportunities.
“The diversion program has succeeded in allowing thousands of first-time offenders with minimal criminal history an opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction by participating in treatment, staying crime free, and paying restitution owed to crime victims,” said Young.
Eligible community members are those who have previously qualified or could qualify for the services of a public defender. Individuals who need help determining eligibility for the program can contact Diversion Program Coordinator Debbie Lee at (360) 487-8508 or email@example.com.
Information provided by city of Vancouver.
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