D.A. Heather Adams Announces Launch of Diversion Program in Collaboration with SecondChance PA and Compass Mark – Drug Forfeiture Funds Marked for Support
Two local programs will receive donations from the Lancaster County District Attorney’s drug forfeiture fund to support their initiatives now associated with a new diversion program launched earlier this week by Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams. The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office has partnered with SecondChance PA and Compass Mark to launch a new and improved diversion program available at the Magisterial District Judge level aimed toward those who commit low-level offenses related to a drug or alcohol addiction. The new program, called “Pathways to Recovery,” launched on Monday.
“Our office looks forward to implementing this program that was designed to be less costly, more inclusive, and more accessible all while assisting those in recovery in leading hopeful, successful lives,” District Attorney Heather Adams said. “The launch of this program would not have been possible without the commitment from SecondChance PA and Compass Mark.”
Pathways to Recovery is a voluntary program designed to help people with addiction challenges get the help needed to have a positive life and avoid a criminal record. Participants will be required to undergo a level of care assessment and follow through with all treatment recommendations as well as perform community service and be subject to random drug testing. Completion of the program entitles the participant to dismissal of the charges and the ability to seek an expungement of the charges from their criminal record.
The improvements in this program include a shift away from box-checking measures in the current program, many of which were behind a paywall of administrative fees. This program offers participants support, education, alignment, referral to appropriate treatment services, monitoring and follow-up for a low, flat fee and appropriate behavioral health experts and peers trained to assist individuals in utilizing services and supports. The most significant aspect of Pathways to Recovery is that it will offer education and treatment to individuals when it’s needed. This will be accomplished from resulting work done by the two partner organizations.
SecondChance PA is led by Chris Dreisbach of Blueprints for Addiction Recovery and aims to do its part in turning the tables on addiction, relapse, and needless death.
The organization will supply Certified Recovery Specialists (CRS) who will provide direct engagement, screening and assessment, referral, and wraparound services for all program participants.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer this innovative new service to the people of Lancaster County,” Dreisbach said. “Diversion programs are often far too limited and restrictive to affect real change in the lives of people struggling with substance use and other behavioral health disorders. Lancaster is fortunate to have the leadership that it does; leadership that empowers us to build legitimate programs aimed at decreasing the public cost and waste of outdated policies, reducing recidivism and criminal behavior, and ultimately increasing the rate of meaningful recovery experiences across the county.”
Compass Mark is a non-profit organization serving Lancaster, Lebanon, and Chester counties. For over 50 years, Compass Mark has played a leading role in developing and implementing high-quality addiction prevention programs. Its mission is to prevent addiction through education, skill-building, and community mobilization.
Compass Mark will administer the Skills for Life program for any eligible participant as identified by the CRS staff after an intake, screening, and assessment.
“The Skills for Life program is designed to educate individuals about substance use disorder and guide them on a path toward health and resilience,” Compass Mark Executive Director Erik Kennel stated. “Compass Mark is honored to partner with the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office and SecondChance PA to offer an important skill-building component for participants in this promising county-wide diversion initiative. We have seen the many benefits of upstream prevention and are excited about the positive impact this investment will have for our community.”
SecondChance PA and Compass Mark will both receive donations from the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office’s forfeiture fund of $25,000 and $15,000 respectively. Illegal proceeds seized by the Lancaster County Drug Task Force that are later forfeited by Order of Court are, by law, to be used for the enforcement of the Drug Act and to support community-based drug and crime-fighting programs.
“I am so pleased to be able to provide this funding for this important program that seeks to rehabilitate offenders by addressing the root cause of crime,” District Attorney Heather Adams said. “This investment in rehabilitation will lead to greater public safety as participants will ultimately be less likely to reoffend.”
Participants who must complete Compass Mark’s Skills for Life program will be given a $50 scholarship also from forfeiture funds in order to keep program costs low.
More information regarding Pathways to Recovery can be found here.