Pre-Trial Diversion

This program is designed as an alternative to prosecution for first time, non-violent offenders.

Support for pre-trial diversion programs is based on the belief that not every criminal violation warrants a formal courtroom prosecution. By sparing appropriately selected first time offenders the expense of trial and the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, successful divertees are restored to useful citizenship.

The Pre-trial Diversion Program represents one of the most promising correctional treatment innovations in recent years. Adaptable both to adult and juvenile correctional populations, the concept has received increasing recognition and endorsement as a rehabilitative technique for early and youthful offenders. The technique is to be distinguished from informal diversion practices, in that pre-trial (diversion) referrals are based on:

· formalized eligibility criteria;

· required participation in manpower, counseling, job placement and educational services

· for defendants placed in the programs, and

· utilization of a real alternative to official court processing, i.e. dismissal of formal charges for successful participants

Given the current drain on correctional resources, prosecutors nationwide are recognizing the need to alternatives to incarceration. When asked to name the areas viewed as most important for future research and evaluation, prosecutors and other groups named alternative sanctions as a top priority.

The following steps comprise the Iberville, West Baton Rouge & Pointe Coupee Parishes District Attorney’s Office Pre-trial Intervention Program:

1. Transfer agency submits offense report to the District Attorney.

2. District Attorney determines if the case appears to be suitable for Pre-trial Intervention.

3. Case is forwarded to the Director of the Pre-trial Program.

4. Director schedules a screening appointment, at which time the following procedures are performed:

· Candidate is notified that this program is strictly voluntary and upon completion of the program, charges are dismissed.

· Criminal history is obtained

· Victim is contacted (if required).

· Arresting Officer is contacted (if necessary).

5. If the individual is considered a candidate for the program, he is placed on probation for up to 2 years. Conditions of probation may include community service, counseling (i.e. anger management, alcohol, drug counseling, MADD, etc.) and/or restitution.

6. Only first time offenders may be eligible for P.T.D.

7. If the individual is declined, the case is returned to the prosecutor along with an explanation for being declined.

Jessel Ourso is responsible for the day to day operations of the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s P.T.D. Program.

He can be contacted at the Plaquemine Office at (225) 687-5210.
E-Mail Jessel: