ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office is giving those charged with a non-violent crime the chance to avoid prosecution with their Pre-Prosecution Diversion Program. Pre-prosecution Diversion Program Officer Nicole Morales discusses how it works and how it’s helping defendants get their lives back on track.

The PPD program is an option for offenders who have little or no criminal history and the current charge cannot be a violent crime. The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office reports that in most cases, defendants must sign an admission statement and if they get terminated from the program the District Attorney’s Office will proceed with the prosecution.

While in the program, defendants take part in daily checks with their PPD officers and update them on things such as counseling sessions, job applications, and drug intervention programs. The PPD program is pre-adjudicated which allows people to enter the program before they are arrested.

“A lot of first-time felony offenders are committing crimes for a lot of reasons and we’re finding most of it is drug abuse, mental health, and like I said before, lack of resources and support,” said Morales. “If we’re intervening early enough with these sort of defendants and we’re providing them with treatment and support and help, the likelihood that they are gonna commit crimes again is really really low.”

Morales explains that some of their clients leave the program with a GED or are fully enrolled in college while others are able to complete college. For more information, visit the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s website.