The Los Angeles Police Department, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Office, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and the nonprofit Special Services for Groups, has launched the ATI Pre-File Diversion Program, which seeks to provide care and treatment instead of jail whenever possible.
The concept for the program came from the newly formed Los Angeles County ATI Office, which was launched by the board of supervisors in September. The ATI Pre-Filing Diversion Program will divert individuals arrested for certain misdemeanors and non-violent felonies to community support programs in lieu of filing criminal charges and transporting them to county jail facilities.
The LAPD’s 77th Street jail will be the first custody facility operated by the department to implement the program. The department anticipates expanding diversion to the LAPD Metropolitan Detention Center and Van Nuys jail in the near future.
The LAPD plans to continue developing and participating in diversion programs that may reduce recidivism and enhance public safety. Eligible participants for ATI include those suffering mental health and substance abuse disorders, as well as people who are unhoused. Participants will be screened for eligibility. People accused of offenses such as having active felony warrants, failing to register as a sex offender, arson, possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon, domestic violence and stalking, and driving under the influence and other vehicle-related misdemeanors are excluded.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer expressed support for the initiative.
“Our criminal justice system must do more to reduce recidivism and get to the root causes of non-violent, low-level offenses committed by people experiencing homelessness, grappling with mental illness or wrestling with drug addiction. In many cases, treatment and services can be much more effective than brief time in jail,” Feuer said. “This pilot program provides intervention rather than prosecution, recovery rather than the status quo. It is an important addition to the numerous justice reform programs my office already offers. The more the county is able to close service gaps, the more we can expand our diversion efforts into those services.”
For information, visit lapdonline.org and lacityattorney.org.