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Platte CARES Diversion Program Celebrates 100th Graduate

6/12/2023 7:00:00 PM

Platte CaresFrashonda Grayson (Left) receiving her graduation certificate from Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd (Right)

After just two years in operation, the Platte CARES program has recognized its 100th graduate. Platte CARES is a crime diversion program operated by the Prosecuting Attorney's Office that allows first-time, nonviolent offenders a chance to avoid a criminal record if they admit their wrongdoing, perform community service, remain crime- and drug-free, work or continue their education, and, where appropriate, make restitution.

Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, In just two years, Platte CARES has already made a huge impact on individual lives and our entire county. We've helped 100 people avoid a criminal record while still holding them accountable, and participants have made our community better by performing 2,790 hours of community service.

Frashonda Grayson is the 100th graduate of Platte CARES. She had been charged with shoplifting from a retail store located in Zona Rosa, but those charges were dismissed after she completed the Platte CARES program.

As part of the program, Grayson performed 30 hours of community service, completed a class regarding the harm caused by shoplifting, and paid restitution of $643.

Grayson received her graduation certificate on June 1 at the quarterly meeting of the Platte CARES Community Advisory Board, which is comprised of nine community members who help guide the program.

Grayson spoke about the impact of Platte CARES. Platte CARES transformed my life, she said. I was on the wrong path, and the program pushed me to consider it from a different perspective. I'm very relieved the Platte CARES team believed my mistake didn't define who I am. I've discovered from Platte CARES that good people do make mistakes, but they learn and grow from them.

Platte CARES stands for Platte Community Alternative with Restorative and Educational Services. Zahnd started the program as an option for first-time, nonviolent offenders who were not eligible to enter Platte County's DWI, drug, mental health, or veterans court programs.

The goals of Platte CARES are to reduce court caseloads, decrease incarceration, and lower recidivism, hopefully by diverting participants from future involvement with the criminal justice system for the rest of their lives.

Zahnd said, It's no secret that my office is very aggressive when it comes to violent and sexual offenders. I welcome that reputation, because I want to keep Platte County as safe as it can be. But I also know that we need to treat fundamentally good people who have made a mistake differently than hardened, dangerous criminals. Platte CARES helps us do exactly that.

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