New DA Program Gives Juvenile Offenders a Second Chance

Harris County District Attorney Pay Lykos says a new juvenile offender diversion program could save taxpayers millions of dollars in the long run and also give young offenders a second chance. Jack Williams reports.
The program is a partnership between the DA's office and the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department.

"Any complaint of a criminal offense would be analyzed by our office, the District Attorney's office and then once that evaluation is done, we would refer it to the juvenile probation department as a candidate for this pre-trial diversion."

If accepted, young offenders who have committed Class A or B non-violent misdemeanors, things like shoplifting or possessing small amounts of marijuana, would be monitored during probation, but their crimes wouldn't go on their permanent record.

"They're going to clearly understand that this is a benefit that we are extending to them and if they reject it, if they violate the rules, then I'm going to get on them like a duck on a June bug."

Offenders accused of driving while intoxicated or burglary of a vehicle would not be eligible for the diversion program. Lykos says the program is about saving taxpayer dollars as well.
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Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...