NORTH LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — North Las Vegas plans to offer diversionary programs as part of their municipal court expansion. It will focus on rehabilitation for people accused of low-level crimes.
8 News Now spoke with city officials, along with the Chief of Police, about this new plan and why it is so vital especially now in our community.
“We’re not looking to lock people up and through away the key,” said Delen Goldberg, the Asst. City Manager of North Las Vegas. “We’re looking to enhance our community and make better connections and better outcomes for the people in our community, so the community court really plays into that.”
North Las Vegas’ municipal court is expanding, and it couldn’t come at a better time. They have created what’s being called a “Diversionary Program” that will assist low-level offenders in getting the resources they need to stay out of jail.
“We see a large number of mental health cases, substance abuse, domestic violence and in a lot of those cases, while they made a bad decision and there should be a consequence for that, putting them into the justice system isn’t ultimately going to help them or the community in any productive long-term way,” said Goldberg.
The program is meant to address the issues at hand of why the person ended up in court and then assist them with resources so they don’t become repeat offenders.
“The diversionary program will allow those folks who qualify to get the services they need, whether mental health services, addiction treatment, community service so they can give back and really address the issues, and if they do that successfully then in most cases their record will be expunged,” said Goldberg.
Court will be able to determine whether a rehabilitative program would better serve the person or if incarceration is the best solution.
North Las Vegas Police Chief Pamela Ojeda says this is perfect timing for a program like this in our city.
“This is something that we put in place and is set to debut in the next coming months,” said Police Chief Ojeda. “Mental health issues and homelessness have always been a problem and I feel that, it is more prevalent because of the pandemic now.”
The municipal court expansion is expected to launch in the late spring or early summer.