New Fairfax County program helps defendants access resources, help reduce crime

A new Fairfax County program is offering second chances in order to reduce crime.

The new deferred disposition pilot program is called “Taking Root.”

It’s the latest effort to reduce crime while addressing needs when it comes to everything from behavioral therapy and mental health support to literacy and job skills.

“The focus of Taking Root will be to address a subset of cases where the individual has underlying issues that are the root cause of the behavior that led to a criminal involvement,” Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said.

Individuals who want to join will be assessed and once approved by the court, they’ll be monitored and guided.

The program is a collaboration between the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office and the Opportunities Alternatives Resolutions.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney Office will work with OAR to recommend people for the program prior to their first court date through talking with defense counsel, law enforcement and a review of any previous criminal charges.

It will focus on cases where defendants are a good fit and have a need for strong support and rehabilitation.

“Through this program, our hope is that we can bring closer the day when the color of skin, a person’s zip code and the amount of money in their bank account does not dictate their involvement in the legal system,” Descano said.

The commonwealth’s attorney says they hope to ensure race and economics don’t dictate involvement in the legal system.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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