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North Charleston Police To Reinstitute STAND Program
Published:
7/9/2014 2:34:44 PM


North Charleston Police Sgt. Charity Prosser (middle) with the most recent S.T.A.N.D. program participants in 2012.
 
Staff Reports


North Charleston police again are attempting to impact the city’s crime by reinstating a previous program that offered alternatives to criminal offenders. The department is preparing to launch its STAND Program. STAND, an acronym for Step Toward A New Direction, is a voluntary program whose goal is to help those with criminal histories move forward with their lives.

Some may remember the program that was featured in a NBC Dateline news magazine episode. The program implemented by former North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumalt targeted illegal drug dealers and offered them the option of being charged with their crimes or participating in the program that used counseling, job skills and other incentives as alternatives to their previous behavior.

Eight candidates started the program, but only four completed it. When Zumalt left the department January 2013, it was discontinued. The community however has asked it be reinstated. Sgt. Charity Prosser who along with Pfc. Jamel Foster previously conducted the program, will be program administrator.

Prosser said the reinstated program will differ from its predecessor in that any North Charleston resident with a criminal history, except sex offenders, will be eligible to participate. Initially there only will be 15 participants to enter the first of the three-phase yearlong program. Other participants will be brought in as participants complete subsequent phases.

The program will guide men and women who want to work towards a brighter future through education, employment, family devotion and community involvement, said North Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor. The program is a challenging one that demands commitment to change and the dedication to complete every phase of the program. The program involves several courses of study and counseling.

Prosser said the program seeks to reduce the rate of criminal recidivism by giving previous offenders the tools they need to overcome the roadblocks presented by their criminal past. Even with only one success story, the program is worth trying, she said. It will begin the first phase when 15 participants are signed on, Prosser said.

North Charleston City Councilman Michael Brown said he thinks the program is a great one that will help its participants, but North Charleston NAACP President Ed Bryant was more reticent.

He said any effort to offer prior offenders alternatives is good, but the police department also must address other issues such as the proliference of guns and illegal drugs in Black communities. He said there must be greater effort to prevent crime in the first place rather than address its aftermath.

For more information or to participate in the program contact Sgt. Charity Prosser by calling (843) 740-2879 or email her at prosserc@northcharleston.org.
 

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