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CMPD announces new program aimed at helping young adults find jobs, stay out of the criminal justice system

The Adult Diversion Program expands on CMPD's Youth Diversion Program, which has seen 92% of participants not re-offend upon completion of the program.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) is partnering with Lowe’s on a new program aimed at helping people get back on the right path after being accused of a crime.

CMPD announced the addition of an Adult Diversion Program for people ages 18 to 24 who are low-level first-time offenders. The purpose is to provide these young adults with opportunities for education and employment and to avoid re-offending and cycling through the criminal justice system.

“If we can save that one person, if we can break that one cycle, I think this is time well spent,” CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said.

The program will provide job readiness training to keep young adults employable and out of the criminal justice system.

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Lowe’s is an executive sponsor of the program and donated $48,650 to cover program costs this year. Local Lowe’s leaders will lead job and career skills training, including classes on resume writing, interviewing, and job retention.

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Lowe’s is also looking to provide jobs to qualified participants.

“I see this as a natural fit with other commitments we’ve made in our hometown to break down barriers for economic mobility and support skills training that creates pathways to sustainable, well-paying careers and strengthens our workforce,” Hanh Pham, Lowe’s regional vice president, North Carolina, said.

The announcement expands on CMPD’s Youth Diversion Program started in 2013. Since then, police said nearly 4,000 juveniles have completed its youth diversion program with success.

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Police said 92% of juveniles who completed that program have not re-offended.

“I want to exceed that with the adult [program],” Jennings said. “I want to make sure that we getting that mindset of each adult that’s going through this program to change and say, ‘I can break this cycle.’”

Jennings said that having a job provides not only financial security but also gives a sense of purpose and builds self-esteem.

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“The idea even behind the classes is to get their mindset into being productive citizens,” Jennings said.

Participants in the Adult Diversion Program will complete programs ranging from three months up to a year, depending on the level of offense. There is a zero-tolerance policy for any new criminal offenses while part of the program. Participants will have regular meetings with the program specialist, and comply with recommended treatment, education, and employment. The program includes job readiness training, a financial literacy course, a victim awareness course, and more.

The divertible offenses allowed for participants are:

  • Larceny from auto
  • Unauthorized use of motor vehicle
  • Larceny by employee
  • Felony/Misdemeanor larceny
  • Misdemeanor Assault (non-DV)
  • Auto theft-no pursuit or accident with injury
  • Fraud
  • Possession of stolen property (misd. & felony)
  • Misdemeanor B/E
  • Intoxicated and Disruptive
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Damage to Property/Vandalism
  • Failure to Disperse (post-arrest)
  • Possession of Alcohol under 21
  • Possession of Marijuana/other drugs
  • ABC Misdemeanor
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Contact Kendall Morris at kmorris2@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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