Waco, Tx — A new program in McLennan County is keeping non-violent criminals from clogging up the judicial system while also generating money for the county.
"It's an opportunity to prove that this was just a mistake, and this isn't the individual you are," said District Attorney Abel Reyna.
For about a year now, the pre-trial intervention program has been in place in McLennan County. This new program, created by District Attorney Abel Reyna, allows an individual to make amends for a minor crime without creating a permanent blemish on his or her record.
"They simply made a mistake. They weren't an actual criminal," said Reyna.
Participants in the program are ordered various ways of amending their crime.
"...going through classes or doing community service or doing payment of restitution," said Reyna.
For the first nine months of the program, it was tested on the hot check department. In recent months, the
PTIP has expanded to include other crimes.
"These are first time offenses. There have been some that were criminal trespass. There have been theft offenses where the property is recovered, and an opportunity to make that right with the individual that they took the property from. Things like that," said Reyna.
Reyna says this program is not only a second chance for minor offenders, but it also generates revenue for the DA's office. According to Reyna, without this program, these minor offenders would just "clogging up the system".
"It creates problems for us being able to deal with those individuals that are repeat offenders and that are causing problems," said Reyna.
To date, 120 people have successfully completed the program. 100 people are currently participating. And more than $35,000 has been generated for the DA's office.