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JeffCo DA launches Reset Jefferson County in Partnership with Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

Project Reset.
Project Reset.(Source: courtinnovation.org)
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 10:54 AM CDT
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - The following information is from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office:

Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr, in Partnership with Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, announces the launch of Reset Jefferson County. This innovative diversion program allows young people arrested for first-time, low-level felonies to participate in short-term programs in lieu of prosecution.

Reset is modeled after a successful program in New York by the Center for Court Innovation. Reset participants will avoid a criminal record and the court process entirely by completing community-based program requirements.

The program holds people accountable for their actions, strengthens public trust in the justice system, and creates opportunities for young, low-level offenders to move forward without the lifetime impediment of a felony conviction.

Reset is made possible by a grant from the Instruments of Hope Unity Fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.

“Too often, incarceration perpetuates a cycle of harm that leaves young individuals traumatized,” said Carr. “Reset will halt this destructive cycle by treating young, first-time offenders with dignity, providing the tools and opportunity to write a better story for themselves. Reset can repair the harm to community and individuals, while respecting participants.”

In Jefferson County, more than 500 people aged 17-24 are arrested each year for low-level felonies, such as drug possession and forgery. In 2019, 75 percent of people arrested were Black residents, a significantly disproportionate number. Reset serves people in this cohort with first-time arrests who accept responsibility for their actions, and rather than appearing before a judge, choose to engage in a two-hour to four-hour session with a community provider that addresses root issues. Reset staff screen participants and refer to education workshops, group or individual counseling, restorative justice workshops or substance abuse counseling. Participants reflect on their accountability and discuss how to avoid future arrests.

For more information, please visit this website.

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