Suffolk announces drug diversion program

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WOODBURY -

Criminal justice leaders in Suffolk County announced Monday a diversionary program for low-level drug offenders that aims to help people find themselves in recovery rather than behind bars.

Nonviolent defendants can take part in the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery and Education Program, or CARE, without entering a guilty plea that would have lingering effects.

MORE: County officials announce new approach to combat addiction
                                   
Justice C. Randall Hinrichs, Suffolk's administrative judge, joined District Attorney Tim Sini and representatives from the Suffolk County Bar Association to make the announcement.

"It involves a defendant enrolling in treatment for 90 days, and if successful, the case against the defendant will be dismissed," Hinrichs says.

Sini says his office conducted a study, looking at arrests from April to June of this year. 

He says that of those who would have qualified for the program had it been in place at the time, 22 percent were African-American and 20 percent were Latino. 

It's a sign, Sini says, that CARE will extend treatment to people of all backgrounds.

Court officials say the treatment programs will be tailored to meet each individual's needs. Nassau has a similar drug diversion program.

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