DISTRICT ATTORNEY SHERRY BOSTON WORKS TO PREVENT RECIDIVISM
Six Young Adults Graduate from Inaugural Diversion Program
Decatur, Ga. – DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston is pleased to announce the graduation of six young adults from her inaugural STRIDE pretrial diversion program.
STRIDE, which stands for Stopping Trends of Repeat Incarceration with Diversion and Education, is a voluntary diversion program that holds young adults who reside in DeKalb County accountable for serious non-violent crimes they have committed, while also ensuring their civic and career opportunities remain intact.
“Our goal was to develop a program that reduces incarceration and interrupts the cycle of recidivism,” said DA Boston. “STRIDE allows young adults who make a mistake to learn from it without permanently damaging their future opportunities. Rather than label these young people as criminals, we have given them the opportunity to become role models and contributing members of our community.”
STRIDE participants must be 17-24 years old and meet one of three factors: the charge is out of guidelines for normal pretrial diversion; they have had prior contact with the justice system, including juvenile justice, or more than one felony pending; or they are a high risk for re-offending/lack supportive structures to complete pretrial diversion independently.
Participants pledge to remain crime-free and not possess weapons during the program, and they are required to take part in a series of interventions and educational opportunities. In exchange for successfully completing the program, the District Attorney will dismiss charges.
“We cannot continue to use the same approaches and expect different results,” said DA Boston. “STRIDE is a different approach and I’m confident it will yield better and exciting results. I’m proud to celebrate the accomplishments and progress of our inaugural graduates, and I look forward to their future success.”
A ceremony for graduating participants took place virtually on October 28, 2020 and featured a keynote address from DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond.
“I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at scores of graduation ceremonies, but I think this one might be the most important,” said CEO Thurmond. “This graduation speaks to what success is all about – not simply how far a person goes in life, but how far they have come in order to arrive where they are. Thank you to DA Boston and the Diversion Team for having the vision and understanding that second chances are a blessing. Where would we all be without a second chance somewhere along the way?”
Graduates successfully completed a 12-month program that encompassed several requirements including: monthly meetings; full-time work or school; cognitive behavioral counseling; community service; civic engagement; acts of restorative justice (restitution, letters of apology, etc.); and a book-based presentation.
STRIDE aims to provide participants with the skills to form healthy relationships and contribute to the prosperity of their family and community. Participants also take measures to reconcile for former bad acts and forgive themselves, as well as learn strategies to make better choices in the future.
STRIDE partners include RED, Inc., WorkSource DeKalb and American Alternative Court Services.
DA Boston’s Diversion and Community Alternatives Programs Unit encompasses alternatives to prosecution and treatment programs offered by the District Attorney’s Office and the Courts. The Unit creates and administers alternative solutions allowing our community to receive justice while still allowing non-violent defendants to maintain employability and positive community engagement. The Unit is led by Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Lisa Moultrie and is staffed by Senior Assistant District Attorneys Isaac Howard and Ashley Masset, and Case Manager Tina Padilla.
Due to privacy concerns, record restriction guidelines and conditions associated with the STRIDE program, participant identification is being withheld.