The Augusta Judicial Circuit Pre-Trial Diversion Program was created in 2021 by District Attorney Jared T. Williams. It is as an alternative to prosecuting first-time, nonviolent offenders through the criminal justice system. The program is DA Williams’ step to hold people accountable while giving them the tools to succeed. The ultimate aim is to help young people find job sites, not jail cells.
The program is designed with the following goals in mind:
- Keep young people out of the cycle of incarceration
- Protect victims of crime by preventing repeat offenses
- Reduce the number of less serious cases in the courts
- Provide restitution to victims
- Provide an offender with an opportunity to accept responsibility without having a criminal conviction on their record
- Provide rehabilitative services, life-skills training, and other opportunities to correct underlying issues that led to the criminal activity instead of incarceration
- Protect the community by supervising participants.
This program is for eligible offenders in the Superior Courts of Burke and Richmond Counties. The program is designed for low-risk offenders who have committed non-violent crimes.
People who are approved for participation in the program are required to enter into a written contractual agreement with specific conditions that they must satisfy to successfully complete the program. Participants will be supervised for a specified length of time.
The decision to participate in PTD is made freely and voluntarily and with the advice of counsel. Participation occurs prior to adjudication, and successful completion of the program will result in a dismissal of the charges and removal of those charges from a person’s criminal record. PTD is designed to benefit the individual participant as well as the overall criminal justice system for the Augusta Judicial Circuit by allowing someone who committed a crime to be held accountable and also move forward with their life without the burden of a criminal record.
Violation of or failure to abide by or complete the terms of PTD shall result in discharge from the program, in which event the person’s criminal case will return to the traditional criminal prosecution process.
The ultimate goal is to propel people forward, not hold them back.