Interesting news has come out recently from Westchester County. It was announced that in Westchester County, a new program will offer alternative methods to dealing with individuals who've committed or were accused of committing low level crimes. This new method is being called the "Westchester Misdemeanor Wellness Court (WMWC)".

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The Announcement of a New "Practical" Court

The announcement of this new court, this method of was made by the Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah. Rocha at the time of the announcement was joined by both advocates and government partners who made the launch of this new court possible. In her statement Rocha thanked those who helped bring this new court to fruition. Rocha would also go on to say...

the court would serve as a practical and humane alternative for individuals who commit low-level crimes, and are in need of treatment and services.

Gavel on table in court

How Did This New Court Idea Begin?

The beginnings of this new court actually go back to 2021 as District Attorney Rocha made it a priority in her position to prioritize a new community-based violence prevention and rehabilitation for low-level offenders. Westchester had also at the time started a new pre-arraignment diversion program titled called "Fresh Start".

Fresh Start as a program since that time as been adopted by 42 different police departments across the county and has aided 200 individuals who previously would have either been convicted or fined for their transgressions. The point of operation now for the newly approved WMWC will be in White Plains, out of White Plains City Court. The future of these mental health focused courts and programs looks bright, as expansion into drug treatment courts is being talked about.

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Overall this seems to be a positive alternative to how the justice system normally operates. We all know that not all crimes are equal and some people definitely deserve to be in jail for things they've done. Alternatives like this seem to be a more proactive and seemingly more healthy way to not only help those who have done wrong pay their debts back but to even keep others away from trouble in the first place.

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