February 28, 2020

Diversion programs aimed at lowering drug-related incarcerations in Pima County

The county attorney's office says its approach is unique in Arizona.

Over the years, the Pima County Attorney’s Office has developed programs that give those arrested for drug-related crimes the opportunity to avoid incarceration and enroll in treatment programs. Results include reduced recidivism and saving taxpayer dollars, according to chief deputy attorney Amelia Cramer. Cramer discussed the county’s approach and impact on the community.

“County attorney Barbara LaWall has been a visionary and in Arizona is at the forefront of offering treatment instead of prosecution, or if we have to prosecute, instead of jail or prison. And she’s helped create a continuum of interventions where there’s always an off-ramp to treatment,” Cramer said. “It costs less than half the cost of prison, and we’re saving not only the defendant’s life, but the lives of their children and their elderly parents and others that they can be there to care for in the community.”

Arizona 360
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