We all grew up hearing the phrase – “Everyone deserves a second chance.” Teachings of forgiveness and turn the other cheek are instilled from a young age to be carried into adulthood so that we treat others with the same respect we would want.
Efforts of blending these social philosophies into our criminal justice system have led to the creation of diversion programs. Programs designed to assist those who have found themselves straying from life’s path and give them the second chance they deserve. When someone makes a bad decision it may affect them by pulling them into the criminal justice system, but that does not necessarily make an individual a bad person worthy of the label as a “criminal”.
I have had the opportunity to work with and assist my clients through these programs that give a second chance to people that not only need but deserve it. I would like to take the opportunity to introduce you all to these beneficial programs and give my appreciation to those that created them and continue to make them possible.
Mental Health Court (MHC) was established in the 19th Judicial Circuit by administrative order of Chief Judge in 2006, operating in St. Lucie and Martin County (as well as many other throughout the state). MHC is a diversionary program for persons diagnosed with a severe mental illness or developmental disability. The programs goal is not only to promote involvement in treatment and awareness but to reduce recidivism for clients with mental health disorders.
Drug Court is available for 1st time offenders and a tem monitors clients as they progress through an educational based program with requirements including 15 hours drug/alcohol education, attendance of AA/NA meetings, random drug screening and attendance at Drug Court. Sentencing is withheld until completion of the 52 week program and if successful results in charges being dropped.
Veterans Court’s recent inception in the 19th circuit is a similar program giving back to those who have given so much for our country.
Thank you to the team of people that make second chances possible, including all the Judges, Attorney, Florida Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program, jail personnel, counselors and all the people that cared enough to not only be brave during the creation of these programs but have continued to assist and support them.
This article is taken from the January issue of Her Life Magazine. Brook writes a column monthly be sure to read future editions.