Non-violent, low-level drug offenders will be offered a chance at recovery through the program. The Asbury Park Municipal Court in partnership with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and community based organizations including: CPC Behavioral Health, Hope Sheds Light, and New Hope, will begin offering the Recovery Diversion Program (RDP) to support low-level municipal court defendants.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the City of Asbury Park Published January 29, 2023 at 6:09 P ASBURY PARK, NJ — The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, in partnership with the City of Asbury Park Municipal Court, is bringing its Recovery Diversion Program (RDP) to Asbury Park to provide substance use resources to support municipal court defendants. Instead of traditional prosecution, non-violent, low-level offenders suffering from a substance abuse disorder will be offered a road to recovery through the RDP. The program, which takes between 12 weeks and six months depending on treatment recommendations, was created by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office to combat early substance abuse, decrease stigma surrounding addiction and strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the community. “We are committed to helping individuals who want and need treatment and resources to become productive members of society. To that end, we are grateful for our partnership with the City of Asbury Park in the implementation of this program,” Raymond S. Santiago, Monmouth County Prosecutor said. For those that successfully complete the program, the Municipal Court Prosecutor will make a motion before the Municipal Court Judge for dismissal of charges and expedited expungement, if applicable.
“We’re thankful to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for bringing this life-changing program to Asbury Park and to Asbury Park Municipal Court for providing their full support towards the program. The health and well-being of our community continues to be a priority at City Hall,” Mayor John Moor said. Lindsay Ashwal, Assistant Protector, gave a presentation about the program’s expansion to Asbury Park to the Asbury Park City Council and those in attendance at the January 25 city council meeting. “What we’ve seen is a huge success,” Aswal said of the program which began in November 2021 in Long Branch municipal court. Over 20 people have since graduated from the program during which they were diverted to treatment through CPC Behavioral Healthcare and New Hope Integrated Behavioral Healthcare and connected to recovery coaches through HOPE Sheds Light. “Not only did they graduate, they graduated being reunited with their family. They graduated with a job that fits their lifestyle. They also got their charges dismissed,” Ashwal said, noting that the program hopes to begin to link in services for family members as well. “Substance use doesn't just affect the individual, it affects children, it affects different family members,” Ashwal said. Program participants were provided with resources from NJ Reentry Corporation including employment, housing and a legal coordinator if they had any existing outstanding warrants or civil complaints. Asbury Park City Manager, Donna Vieiro said that the city is grateful to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for providing Asbury Park with the opportunity to offer the RDP and that she is looking forward to working with them to make it a success. “Following a successful pilot program in Long Branch, we’re confident the program will benefit eligible low-level offenders in Asbury Park with substance abuse disorders by connecting them with recovery specialists,” Vieiro said.
Asbury Park Municipal Court Administrator Joanne Pilliod added that the city is pleased to be able to offer the RDP to eligible defendants.
“The program offers defendants in need of drug and/or mental health treatment the opportunity to have the charges against them dismissed if they seek the help they need,” Pilliod said.
For more information, and to find out how to participate in the RDP, contact Asbury Park Municipal Court at 732-775-1765.
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