Criminal Justice Firm Moves to Larger Office
An expanding corporation formed in 1995 to counsel admitted misdemeanor criminal offenders in lieu of prosecution is moving into a roomier office in Van Nuys City Hall.
The City Council gave unanimous approval this week to a city plan to lease about 300 square feet of space to American Justice Associates, a private company started by a former Sacramento prosecutor.
Coordinating its efforts with the city attorney’s office, the company began a Van Nuys pilot program in August 1995 and has since opened a downtown Los Angeles office. The company now offers its services for a fee to clients throughout the city, and plans to handle the bulk of its increased demand from the new Van Nuys space.
Clients, generally first-time offenders without prior criminal records, pay a fee that ranges from $125 to $225. In return, they avoid prosecution and receive 90 days of counseling, including career advice.
The goal, according to senior associate Neil Anderson, is to give offenders an alternative to the customary judicial route and lighten the criminal justice system’s caseload.
“Our program is geared toward the entry-level person,” Anderson said.
“We run defendants through a comprehensive approach to keeping a job and maintaining self-esteem, so we don’t have to see them back here again.”