This video describes the New Orleans District Attorney's diversion program for first-time drug offenders.
The program is described by a news reporter as requiring participants to remain drug-free for 6 months. If they succeed in this effort, then the charges will be dropped; otherwise, traditional criminal justice processing will proceed. Drug testing is randomly performed on program participants through hair analysis. The video shows offenders' hair being cut for such analysis. Interviews with successful program participants indicate that they appreciate the benefits of the program and believe it has helped them become drug-free and improve their lives. A staff member involved with the program comments on its benefits compared with incarceration. She notes that from her observation drug offenders who are imprisoned with no treatment opportunity come out of prison impatient to resume a life of drugs. Those in the diversion program, however, are usually motivated to remain drug-free even after the 6-month requirement of abstinence has been completed.
Date Published: January 1, 1993