DA’s office, NTCC partner up to offer new ‘diversion’ program

Published 5:07 am Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Northshore Technical Community College (NTCC) and the Office of District Attorney Warren Montgomery have partnered to create an educational opportunity for low-risk, first-time offenders enrolled in a rehabilitative program offered by Montgomery’s office.

Through the new partnership, participants in the District Attorney’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program, commonly called Diversion, will be able to attend NTCC as a condition of the program and an alternative to prosecution. Diversion is typically offered to first-time offenders of non-violent crimes. Participants are required to complete a number of conditions, aimed at changing the behavior that led to the criminal offense. Those conditions often include substance abuse counseling, anger management, drug screening, community service, and more.

“This partnership is designed to provide misdemeanor offenders with employable skills in an effort to help them become productive citizens that support our community,” Montgomery said. “By investing in our Diversion participants now, we significantly decrease the risk that my office will have to prosecute them in the future for criminal behavior.”

On Friday, March 29, Montgomery and Dr. Daniel Roberts, Acting Chancellor of NTCC, signed the Memorandum of Understanding, outlining the agreement.

“This new collaboration represents a partnership between government and education that works to advance innovative ways to give people who need an opportunity for a fresh start,” Roberts said.

The signing of the agreement provides Diversion participants who wish to continue their education a pathway for Adult and Post-Secondary Education through NTCC. The college’s staff will work with the potential students to identify financial assistance and guide them in their career endeavors.

The partnership was initiated as part of the Diversion Program’s efforts to expand the options for participants to better themselves. Dr. Jim Carlson, Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives at NTCC, worked alongside Collin Sims, Criminal Division Chief at the District Attorney’s Office, and Lisa Murphy, Diversion and Criminal Support Supervisor, to develop the initiative.

“The energy and intention that created this opportunity resulted in something important to the people in St. Tammany and Washington parishes,” Carlson said. “This new program is not intended to be a soft alternative. It is an opportunity to think outside the box and give individuals who made a mistake a chance to earn an employable education or skillset.”

For more information about the Diversion Program, visit online at damontgomery.org/services/pre-trial-intervention-pip.