by Doug Hrdlicka | Oct 9, 2020 |
A Denver police officer at a Black Lives Matter protest over the summer, Photo by Esteban Fernandez |Este.Fdez20B@gmail.com
Denver City Council voted on September 16 to expand funding and renew the contract for the Empowerment Program, an agency in Denver that provides mental, behavioral and physical health services to women, to continue managing cases for the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion project.
The goal is to reduce recidivism and offer people stuck in the justice system a path out by diverting repeat offenders of low-level crimes to people and programs that focus on a harm-reduction approach. The hope is to introduce stability by addressing the needs of the individual, without requisites for participation.
Kevin Kelly is Denver’s LEAD project manager and works to see the program’s participants receive the needed benefits that could include housing, food and clothing.
“Being a harm reduction-based program, we are not asking someone to stop what they’re doing,” said Kelly. “One of the main goals is to keep folks out of jail and, especially because our target population is often dealing with those behavioral health issues, that’s certainly something we hope for our participants.“...