Committed To Smart Justice
The Hinds County District Attorney’s Office is committed to Smart Justice, evaluating every case in terms of the best result for both the victim and the community. To accomplish this goal, the Office places special emphasis on pretrial programs aimed at reducing recidivism and making victims whole. The District Attorney’s Office is also instrumental in assisting citizens, who have paid their debt to society, to expunge eligible convictions.
We continued our commitment to diverting individuals away from the criminal justice system by identifying eligible offenders for the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office’s pretrial intervention program. This year, 98 would-be felons successfully completed the intensive pre-trial intervention program and began their fresh start. 50 drug offenders entered Drug Court joining the other 165 individuals on the road to recovery. In 2023, 170 citizens received expungements, bringing this administration’s expungement total to 434. With the help of this office, these individuals were able to receive a fresh start by having eligible convictions removed from their records. Finally, the Office stands ready to support Judge Peterson’s implementation of a Mental Health Court in 2024.
Pre-trial intervention programs play a vital role in the criminal justice system by offering an alternative approach to traditional legal proceedings. These programs provide an opportunity for individuals accused of non-violent offenses to address the underlying issues contributing to their involvement in the criminal justice system before their case goes to trial. By focusing on rehabilitation and support rather than punitive measures, pre-trial intervention programs aim to reduce recidivism, alleviate court congestion, and save taxpayer resources. Participants may engage in counseling, educational programs, or community service, allowing them to take responsibility for their actions and work towards positive behavioral change. Importantly, these programs prioritize rehabilitation over incarceration, aligning with the broader goal of fostering reintegration and preventing further criminal involvement.
In 2023, 73 new offenders joined the road to a second chance by entering the District Attorney’s Pre-Trial Intervention program. Likewise, 98 citizens started their second chance by successfully completing the program. The following graph demonstrates the success of the Pre-Trial Program and the positive effect the program is having on the Criminal Justice System in Hinds County.
Drug Court is a special court given the responsibility to handle cases involving drug-using offenders through comprehensive supervision, drug testing, treatment services, and immediate sanctions and incentives.
The Hinds County District Attorney’s Office is an active partner and supporter of the Hinds County Circuit Drug Court, as part of its Smart Justice initiative. In 2023, 50 new offenders began the road to recovery by taking advantage of the Drug Court Program.
Expungements play a pivotal role in fostering societal reintegration and rehabilitation for eligible offenders. Expungements serve as a mechanism for individuals with a past criminal record to move beyond their past mistakes and rebuild their lives. By expunging or sealing certain criminal convictions, individuals can overcome the barriers that often accompany a criminal record, such as difficulties in securing employment, housing, and educational opportunities. This process acknowledges the potential for personal growth and change, offering a second chance to those who have demonstrated rehabilitation. Moreover, it contributes to the overall well-being of communities by reducing recidivism rates, as individuals who are granted a clean slate are more likely to become productive members of society. In essence, criminal expungement embodies the principle that individuals should not be permanently defined by their past errors, promoting a more just and compassionate legal system.
In 2023, 170 citizens received expungements, bringing this administration’s expungement total to 434. This represents a 55% increase over 2022. 2022 saw a 45% increase over 2021. With the help of this the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office, these individuals were able to receive a fresh start by having eligible convictions removed from their records.