Lowe’s and police launch diversion program for Charlotte adults

Hoping to build on its success with its youth diversion program, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said it was launching an adult version in partnership with Lowe’s.

The adult diversion program would reach young adults between the ages of 18 and 24, police officials said at a news conference on Thursday.

Participants would be diverted from the traditional criminal justice system for lower level first offences. The program would provide them with education and employment opportunities in the hope that these skills would prevent them from entering the criminal justice system.

Since 2013, nearly 4,000 miners have successfully completed Youth Diversion training, according to the CMPD. About 92% do not commit new offences, police said.

Chief Johnny Jennings said he hopes the adult program will have even better results and a lower recidivism rate.

“I want to make sure we get that mindset from every adult that goes through this program to change and say ‘I can break this cycle,'” he said.

CMPD hopes to see generational success with this program, Jennings said. Thus, when an individual who commits an offense goes through the program, he comes out of it successfully and this success is passed on to his children and grandchildren.

“If we can accomplish that, we can save a lot of court time, a lot of money, a lot of service calls,” Jennings said.

How will adult diversion work?

The program kicks in immediately after arrest, when an individual is eligible and referred by the arresting officer.

If the person arrested is charged with a minor, non-violent offense and has no criminal or arrest history, the officer will alert a CMPD diversion specialist to a potential candidate for program.

For the program to work, the accuser or the victim will have a say, and participants must sign a waiver and agree to take between 25 and 100 hours of diversionary classes within three, six or 12 months, said the Captain Norman Garnes of the CMPD. The amount of class time will correlate with the level of offense they have.

Lowe’s involvement

Lowe’s, the Mooresville-based home improvement retailer, and other companies will provide job opportunities for people who complete the program.

Lowe’s will also contribute about $48,000 in the program, Hanh Pham, regional vice president of the company.

Pham said she believes the program will help the company as employers continue to face a labor shortage.

“We anticipate that we will be able to offer opportunities to qualified participants at stores in the area, or wherever we may have openings,” Pham said. “And those same young people become employable for other businesses, not just in Charlotte, but beyond.”

This story was originally published June 9, 2022 11:04 a.m.

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