Desperate to reduce crowding in jails and prisons, court systems all over the country are trying diversion – alternatives to putting offenders behind bars. On today’s Reveal, we peek behind the good intentions and uneven results.
Reveal’s Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walter investigate an Oklahoma recovery center called Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, or CAAIR. The founders of the program say it’s all about helping people with addiction. It turns out it’s also a work camp for a major chicken company.
Next, journalist Lee Romney takes us inside CorrectiveSolutions, a company that offers diversion services such as drug abuse and mental health treatment, food pantries and even educational programs. But Romney talked to people in three different states who said they needed help – and the company offered none.
Finally, Sukey Lewis of KQED in San Francisco brings us a story about bail agents. They’re supposed to help people already in the criminal justice system. In California’s biggest bust of its kind, law enforcement officials arrested 31 bail agents over a practice called “bail capping.” We hear evidence from those cases through rarely heard phone calls between people behind bars and the bail agents charged with abusing their power to get them out.