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Diversion programs among ways groups are making Duval County ‘Safer Together’

Diversion programs among ways groups are making Duval County ‘Safer Together’
Diversion programs among ways groups are making Duval County ‘Safer Together’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Members of City Council and leaders of Jacksonville programs met Saturday morning to discuss community policing, policies, procedures and budgeting.

It was the latest workshop in the “Safer Together” initiative.

The main focus of Saturday’s workshop was to learn more about different diversion programs in Duval County, including a relatively new one, called the KHA Diversionary Program.

“We’re really excited about it. It’s been going very well so far,” said Amy Reed, the director of juvenile justice programs at the Partnership for Child Health.

Read said the agency was awarded funding from the Kids Hope Alliance for the program.

“Previously, the cases would be sent to the youth offender program at the State Attorney’s Office, and they would typically filter out and refer to other diversion programs within the county,” Reed said. “Now that has been taken directly out of the State Attorney’s Office and our agency is overseeing every single diversionary case in Duval County.”

Reed said they currently have more than 250 cases.

“Our goal is to always make sure we’re putting the most appropriate care in for each child as well as hold them accountable for the actions that brought them to us,” Reed said. “We try to find a good balance between that.”

The program was one of several diversion programs discussed during the “Safer Together” meeting.

The others included Teen Court, Drug Court and Cure Violence, a program that aims to decrease violent crime.

“We come as a group of individuals who were formally part of the problem in the community, now willing to come back and be ambassadors to making things happen differently,” said Paul Tutwiler, Northside director for Cure Violence. “Being able to work with people in the community that are likely to become violent offenders.”

Jacqueline Collier, Eastside director for Cure Violence, said their goal is to “interrupt and detect” violence before it happens.

There will be another meeting at 9:30 a.m. on May 21.

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