People make mistakes. They do stupid things. Sometimes they make bad choices because they are down on their luck and don’t feel they have another option.
But it is important to realize there is a big difference between bad people who do bad things that hurt people and good people who make an error in judgment because they are young and immature or just find themselves in a bad spot.
Here in Pinellas County, Florida, time and again we see people making these mistakes, getting convicted, serving time or paying large fines and ultimately, leaving themselves with criminal records that will often haunt them for much or all of their lives. Given how information today is so readily available, that statement really is true. There are even websites now where anyone can locate a person’s mugshot for what in some cases is really just a petty offense.
After a lot of talking and planning, we have decided that in our county, just because people do something wrong doesn’t mean they all should be saddled with an undue weight for the remainder of their days. In October, we started an Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion program aimed at preventing these sorts of errors from keeping people from getting a job or stable housing. Read more