Niagara Gazette

Opinion

February 4, 2013

HIGGS: Block club retreat highlights partnerships

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas started her presentation stating “I love to come to this every year.” We love to have her as we both learn from her presence. She talked about the 90 percent of crime that is fed by the need to satisfy an addiction and how the Legislature instituted the Judicial Diversion plan in 2009 to get to the core of the problem. Individuals who tend to commit crime because of addiction have the opportunity to attend a two-year intensive program linked to a drug court and monitored on a weekly basis by the drug court and Niagara County Court judges. She has monitored 64 participants since 2010 with ten failures that were immediately sent to prison and five successes whose charges were reduced to lesser offenses or dismissed altogether. The remainders are still in the program. She spoke with a sense of pride of those who succeeded as she keeps in touch and they have become useful members of society and even “look better” she said.

Its time to stop as my numbers are up. Next week we will learn what our new police chief had accomplished in his first 25 days. He did say the department couldn’t be as effective without block clubs. Stay tuned.

Norma Higgs serves with the Niagara Beautification Commission and Niagara Falls Block Club Council.

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