OPD Spearheads Creation of New Prostitution Diversion Program in Municipal Court

This April, OPD was selected to receive the American Bar Association (ABA) Criminal Justice Section's Racial Justice Improvement Project (RJIP) grant; the goal being to identify and reform policies practices that produce racial disparities in local criminal justice system. Four jurisdictions were selected for the two-year grant: Montgomery County, PA; Dane County, WI; Cook County, NC; and New Orleans.

OPD will work to development and implement a prostitution diversion program in New Orleans Municipal Court. A newly-formed Task Force is in the initial stages of establishing the elibility criteria and programmatic requirements of the program. Led by Jee Park, OPD's Special Litigation Counsel, the Task Force includes Chief Judge Desiree Charbonnet, Municipal Court; Cathy Broussard, Probation Officer, Municipal Court; Mark Burton, Supervising Attorney, Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office; Deon Haywood, Executive Director, Women With a Vision; Charlene C. Larche-Mason, Chief Deputy City Attorney; and Jacob McCray, LA Delta Service Corp Fellow as the Task Force coordinator.

OPD is the only organization to receive the grant for two consecutive grant cycles. Most recently, OPD worked with Andree Mattix, Director of Social Services, Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office, and other members of the Task Force, to create a second diversion program diverting nonviolent property offenders out of the criminal justice system and into a program focused on community service, restitution and GED attainment. ABA praised OPD's creative and effective collaboration with other criminal justice stakeholders to push for reforms and better outcomes in the criminal justice system.

 

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