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Douglas County Prosecutor-Led Diversion Program Ready for First Participants

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 4:36pm

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson announces the Douglas County Women’s Substance Use Disorder Prosecutor-Led Diversion and Treatment Program (WDP) is ready to accept its first referrals and participantsThe DA’s Office is launching the program this month and will accept a total of 8-12 participants annually.  The goal of the program is to reduce justice system involvement by non-violent, female offenders with substance use disorders through engagement in comprehensive substance abuse treatment.  Diversion to substance abuse treatment can reduce substance use, justice system involvement, recidivism, and utilization of the jail and help to maintain the participant’s recovery. 

Eligibility criteria required for participation, in part, are as follows:  currently available only to female participants charged with misdemeanor charge (on the current charge), must have at least one prior offense and a substance use disorder diagnosed by DCCCA.  A few of the additional requirements include that participants must agree to remain in the program at least 12 months and agree to participate in community treatment. Full details of the program are available on the District Attorney’s website, 

Participants will have access to a suite of services including detoxification (if needed), residential substance abuse treatment, case management, intensive outpatient treatment for 30-45 days with an additional four to six months regular outpatient treatment, peer support, childcare (if needed) and a host of other services.  

This multi-agency, collaborative effort brings together many dedicated agencies to focus efforts on issues related to substance use and abuse.  Agencies working on this project include:  

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Reentry Program – Identifying possible participants to be reviewed for entry into the program by screenings, assessments and providing case management. 

DCCCA – Providing substance use disorder assessment and treatment services for referred women.  Treatment includes a short term residential modality that includes 40 hours of weekly therapeutic and structured activities; intensive outpatient modality that may include supportive housing for up to 45 days and a full array of individual and group outpatient therapies as participants transition into the community. 

Douglas County Criminal Justice Services/Court Services – Providing needed pre-trial services.  With a focus on community involvement, including meeting with participants in the field, supportive services and overseeing the payment of any court ordered restitution.

Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center Integrated Dual Diagnosis Team – Working with individuals identified as severely mentally ill or those with a severe and persistent mental illness who also have a substance abuse diagnosis. 

Friends of Recovery – Collaborates with Oxford Houses in Kansas to assist participants in need of transitional housing while participants recover from alcohol and drug addictions. Women living in Oxford Houses will also have access to transitional childcare services offered by First Step.   

Lawrence Douglas County Housing Authority – Working to identify eligible housing programs and resources for participants.   

University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare Professor Margaret Severson and Professor Jason Matejkowski – Collecting data and interviewing participants as part of the program evaluation and research.   

Branson began work on the project in early 2017.  In July 2017 he was notified that the District Attorney’s Office was awarded a technical assistance grant from the Bureau of Justice Administration who partnered with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the Center for Court Innovation to implement the program with a focus on substance abuse and mental health.  The Douglas County Commission provided $110,000 toward the project for treatment services during 2018. 

Branson extends his deep appreciation to all the collaborating Douglas County agencies, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the Center for Court Innovation for making this forward-thinking and vital opportunity a reality in Douglas County.         


*Rule 226 - Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct
3.6 Advocate: Trial Publicity
3.8 Advocate: Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor



Media Contact

Cheryl Wright Kunard - Assistant to the District Attorney