SACRAMENTO— California officials are experimenting with a new diversion program for criminals that includes allowing victims to directly confront their offenders.
The budget that took effect July 1 includes $5 million to fund the program for five years in a county with a history of high crime, although it has been tried elsewhere and is more frequently used with juvenile offenders.
The California program is for offenders of any age. It will pair victims and offenders before they are convicted, and offenders who complete the program can avoid having a criminal record.
Proponents said Monday that what are known as restorative justice programs can help survivors heal, while helping offenders avoid committing new crimes in part because they don’t face the stigma of a criminal conviction.
Those charged with murder and sex crimes are not eligible.