Muskingum County Prosecutor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office launches Diversion Program
The Muskingum County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is implementing its newly developed Diversion and Rehabilitation Treatment program, otherwise known as DART. The diversion program is unique compared to most others throughout the state as it occurs prior to arrest in order to provide a limited number of first-time offender participants necessary treatment and assistance without creating a criminal record. Early intervention can help individuals avoid the direct costs and collateral consequences that result from arrest and involvement with the justice system.
DART is centered on connecting eligible individuals to treatment and services that address the underlying reason for their offense while still holding them accountable. Typically, participants will be identified during their initial interaction with officers. To be eligible for the DART program, participants must be first-time, low-level felony offenders whose crimes involve a form of substance abuse.
The Diversion Program Coordinator, employed by the Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office, next meets with possible participants for further eligibility screenings. Participants accepted into the diversion program must display eagerness to cooperate and an ability to benefit from the program. The burden of rehabilitation requires the offender to demonstrate a willingness to comply with the program standard.
Participants will develop a case plan with the Diversion Coordinator, which can include check-ins with the coordinator, random urine screens, mental health and substance treatment, housing assistance and any additional recommendations that could benefit the participant.
The DART program is fully funded by assets seized from drug-related offenses that have occurred in Muskingum County.
“Using convicted drug dealers’ assets to help the very people whose lives they have destroyed is a huge win for our community,” Prosecutor Ron Welch said. “It allows people an opportunity to become drug-free, productive citizens without placing further burden on taxpayers.”
There are multiple phases within the yearlong program, and participants will be required to complete each phase before advancing. Upon completion of all requirements, their case will be dismissed. If a participant is unable to comply with standards or at any point wishes to no longer participate in the voluntary Pre-Arrest Diversion program, their case will be prosecuted.
The goal of DART is to intercept first-time offenders and improve outcomes for the community, as well as for individuals who are linked to treatment and additional resources. The desired outcome is a safer community with the program participants as productive, employed and contributing members.
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