DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES : County Starts Experimental Drug Court Program

A pilot project aimed at rehabilitating drug addicts and keeping them out of the "revolving door" of the criminal justice system officially began in Downtown Los Angeles on Friday.

"This is a program that will help give drug treatment to people who've been arrested for nonviolent crimes," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman.

The Drug Court pilot project began accepting candidates May 3 and 22 defendants are now enrolled. Officials hope to accept about 200 during the first six months of the project.

The one-year diversion program is for defendants deemed eligible by prosecutors and court officials. It includes a blend of treatment and rehabilitation services, including individual and group counseling, acupuncture, 12-step programs, educational and vocational training and job placement.

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