2011-04-08 / Government / Neighborhood

Assistant solicitors speak to Hyatt Park/ Keenan Terrace residents

By Josh Cruse

Only a few months into office, Solicitor Dan Johnson is making efforts for his office to be more visible to neighborhoods in Columbia. At the Hyatt Park/ Keenan Terrace meeting April 5, Assistant Solicitors Britton All and Andrew Rogers spoke not only about what the solicitor’s office is but programs they offer as an alternative to jail time.

Solicitors or prosecutors, focus specifically on crimes in a district. One of the changes that Johnson made was to break up the office into regions instead of teams, a format used in similar agencies in Columbia such as the police department.

One alternative to putting young people who commit crimes in jail is pretrial intervention, a program for those who do not have a significant prior record, thereby preventing the crime from hampering their future endeavors. They receive education about the effects of bad decisions and are assigned probation agents. Also, offenders who enter this program are subjected to repeated drug testing. The program lasts about a year, and once the offender has completed it, the charges are dismissed. Offenders are only allowed one opportunity to complete the program.

Another program is the youthful offender act program aimed at individuals 17–25. This program places a special emphasis on education, and classes are offered that allow offenders to complete their GED.

For older offenders is Drug Court, a program that helps those dealing with drug issues to live sober and resolve their problems.

The solicitor’s office also helps victims of crimes with such programs as the Worthless Check Unit. If a business owner is a victim of receiving a bad check and they have not received restitution, they can contact the solicitor’s office, and the crime will be pursued.

The 4 Teens by Teens program will present the First Annual Fashion Show in collaboration with Ensor Forest. The fashion show will be held at the Hyatt Park Gym, 950 Jackson Avenue, from 4 to 7 p.m. on April 30. Participants are asked to bring a canned good, and they will receive a dollar off admission.

Return to top