SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – District Attorney Michael Ramos (pictured above) joined a crowd of 200-plus victims of crime, law and justice members and community leaders today in the Board Chambers at the San Bernardino County Government Center to commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. After paying tribute to crime victims, District Attorney Ramos announced the creation of the Crime Prevention and Intervention Unit.
About Crime Prevention and Intervention Unit
Public safety is of paramount importance to me as your District Attorney. Prosecuting criminals to the fullest extent of the law is what we do every day to obtain justice for victims, punish offenders, and deter others from committing crimes. However, public safety is also achieved if we can prevent a crime from occurring in the first place. The District Attorney’s Office is in a unique position to provide leadership in the community through crime prevention programs, intervention programs for appropriate low-level offenders, and community support programs.
We currently have many such programs in place, including Let’s End Truancy to encourage children to stay in school, Camp Good Grief to help support children of homicide/suicide victims, the Parent Project to teach parenting skills to parents of at-risk youth, the Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership (GRIP) to immunize our elementary school students against gangs and drugs, Girls Court to give girls in the juvenile justice system the skills to get their lives back on track, RISE (Rehabilitation, Intervention, Support & Education) diversion program for first-time low level misdemeanor offenders, the Mock Trial Program to improve our high school students’ communication skills and understanding of our justice system, Veteran’s Court to address the special needs of our veterans who are in the criminal justice system, Mental Health Court to provide appropriate treatment for mentally ill non-violent offenders, and Drug Court to help rehabilitate non-violent drug addicts and thereby reduce drug-driven crimes.
As District Attorney, I recognize the importance of these programs to our public safety mission, and the need for a more coordinated county-wide approach to crime prevention and intervention, which leverages the resources of all our county law and justice agencies and the community. We will continue to ensure that we in the District Attorney’s Office are doing everything possible to not only prosecute crime, but to prevent crime. To help us accomplish these goals, I am proud to announce the creation of the Crime Prevention and Intervention Unit.
The Unit will consist of a team of seven prosecutors and support staff dedicated to reducing crime through prevention and intervention efforts, and working collaboratively with our criminal justice partners. The Unit will take a four-pronged approach to crime prevention:
1. Prevent our children from dropping out of school and falling prey to the criminal lifestyle, by significantly expanding our Let’s End Truancy Unit. Expand prosecutor participation in at-risk youth programs sponsored by our county law and justice partners. Studies show that 82% of incarcerated adults are high school dropouts, and raising graduation rates by 10% will reduce violent crime in our communities by 20%.
2. Divert low-level first-time misdemeanor offenders out of the criminal justice system and into short-term rehabilitation programs to quickly get them back on track and avoid serious negative impact to their futures. Studies show a higher success rate from this type of early positive intervention.
3. Support intensive court-assisted long-term rehabilitation and intervention programs, in coordination with our law enforcement and county behavioral health partners, for drug-addicted and mentally ill non-violent offenders. We must leverage our county and community resources to stop the revolving door of repeated drug-driven and mental illness-driven crimes.
4. Provide increased leadership and expertise to county and community partnerships that work to accomplish crime prevention goals including the San Bernardino County Gangs and Drugs Task Force, San Bernardino County Re-Entry Collaborative, San Bernardino County Treatment Court Steering Committee, San Bernardino County Behavioral Health & Criminal Justice Consensus Committee, and San Bernardino County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council.
Together the District Attorney’s Office will continue our leadership role in the criminal justice system and help prevent crimes from occurring in our community.