Research has shown that public safety is enhanced by programs that divert low-level offenders out of the criminal justice system and into communityâ€based resource referrals. First Look is a differential case processing program that benefits the entire justice system by identifying individuals who may not benefit from traditional prosecution and attempts to direct them away from criminal justice involvement. Although the program is only in its third year, data confirms that the First Look program generates returns to the community in terms of cost savings, public safety, long-term health and personal stability for justice-involved populations.
The title refers to the "First Look" a prosecutor takes at a defendant's file when they enter the criminal justice system. Under the First Look philosophy, prosecutors examine each case independently to proactively assess the goals of prosecution. Each case represents a unique individual and factors such as prior violations, cooperation with law enforcement, substance use disorder and mental health are taken into account as prosecutors work in partnership with the defense to determine whether an offender is a good fit for the program. For more information on First Look, click here to view our news release.