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New Santa Monica Program Provides Alternative to Jail

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By Lookout Staff

September 30, 2021 -- Vulnerable individuals arrested in Santa Monica can avoid a criminal filing by immediately connecting with a service provider at the jail, City officials announced Thursday.

Launched in Santa Monica this month, the Alternatives to Incarceration Pre-Filing Diversion Program embeds a service provider from Exodus in the Santa Monica Jail around the clock.

The worker with the recovery program will screen those who are booked and self-report they are "experiencing homelessness, substance abuse, or mental health issues" to determine eligibility.

Some charges and criminal history disqualify participation in the program, City officials said.

“We are always looking for partnerships that can help reduce recidivism by addressing the underlying factors that can lead to criminal behavior," said Chief Deputy City Attorney Jenna Grigsby, who leads the Criminal Division of the City Attorney’s Office.

"By partnering with the Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration and Exodus as the service provider, we can help vulnerable people get access to the support they need,” Grigsby said.

Funded by Los Angeles County, the program is a collaboration between the City Attorney’s Office, the Santa Monica Police Department and Exodus, a recovery program that provides psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment services in Southern California.

"Based on the assessed needs, Exodus will describe the program including housing or treatment options available to the candidate," officials said.

"If a candidate accepts the program, Exodus arranges for immediate transport from the jail to the housing or treatment location," where a case manager is assigned and a care plan created, officials said.

If the participant follows the plan, after 90 days their criminal case will not be filed, according to officials.

If the participant rejects the program or refuses to participate in the care plan, their case will be filed.

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