Monday, 11 March 2019 22:23

Prosecution diversion program for drug offenders Featured

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BANGOR - District Attorney Marianne Lynch wants to take a new approach to fight the opioid crisis.

On Monday night, District Attorney Marianne Lynch spoke to Bangor City Councilors about a new prosecution diversion program.

"It's really a prevention model, so of course from a health department point of view, we were all over the idea" Patty Hamilton, Bangor's Public Health Director, said.

The prosecution diversion program would be for first time offenders who would otherwise be issued a fine.

Lynch says she believes this won't just keep people from spending time in a prison cell, but may change their lives.

"In order to address the opioid issue we need to be creative." Lynch said. "We cannot arrest or incarcerate our way out of it. Sometimes the criminal justice system is the step, it's the bottom people hit and it becomes the stimulus for them to get help."

The program would require the offender to attend a one day education class to get their charges dismissed, so they can avoid being prevented from moving forward in life.

However, courts will still have record they completed the program in case of a future offense.

"The education program they receive will be on health issues related to drug use, not the continuum of addiction and then it will end by connecting them to resources" Lynch added.

Bangor City Councilor, Ben Sprague, says he believes the program is a great idea.

He mentioned the cost of the prosecution diversion program would likely be less than the cost of incarceration.

"Our jails are full." Sprague said. "There's no more room and there's a lot of instances of people struggling with the disease of addiction that really need help and support and not necessarily prosecution."

The first run through of this program will be on March 27th.

Rachel Mann

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Rachel joined the ABC 7 & FOX 22 news team in December 2018.

She graduated from Bridgewater State University where she majored in communications and accounting. While attending Bridgewater State, she co-ancho...