Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon announced the launch of a new diversion program for juvenile criminals.
The Restorative Enhanced Diversion for Youth Pathway aims to move young people out of custody and into rehabilitation, a move that Deputy DA Jonathan Hatami described as “a slap on the wrist” for some crimes.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon faces a second recall attempt as criticism of his progressive policies mounts.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Qualified offenses include burglary, non-firearm assault or serious injury, vehicle theft, robbery, large-scale theft, sexual assault, and arson, FOX LA reported.
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Other cities have tried similar programs. As is well known, Chicago launched the “Criminal Trespass to Vehicle Workshops” route.
LAPD members make their way down Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
The Chicago Police Department held “station adjustments” that lasted three to four hours in an attempt to correct the juvenile perpetrator’s attitude towards stolen cars, CWB Chicago reported.
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The program only applies to car thefts.
A security guard patrols the main entrance to Nordstrom after an organized group of thieves attempted a robbery in Los Angeles on November 23, 20201. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
New York City ran the more robust Close to Home program from 2018 onwards. The program offered “therapeutic services” to juvenile offenders identified as “juvenile delinquents,” believing that they will benefit from staying in their community while they work through reform programs.
The city defines juvenile offenders as children between the ages of seven and 18 who have committed an act that would be considered a criminal offense if committed by an adult.
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The LA program has faced unique criticism as Gascon’s assistant prosecutors continue to vigorously oppose its programs and initiatives.
“Diversion means we don’t incriminate anyone,” said Hatami, a longtime critic of Gascon’s progressive policies, of the new program. “So if we don’t indict anyone, they won’t go through the court system. So you can’t give them programs that the court will oversee.”
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He speculated that the system could lead to abuse, with gangs pushing younger members who would qualify for the program to commit the crimes as they would face minimal penalties.
Gascon has faced significant criticism for having effectively created a revolving door for some suspected criminals at a time when Los Angeles is facing a serious crime wave.
Police arrested 14 suspects in November allegedly involved in 11 robberies, but the suspects returned hours later because of the zero bail policy. They stay free while their cases go to trial.