Charles Branson

District Attorney

Douglas County, KS

District Attorney Charles E. Branson, was first elected as District Attorney of the 7th Judicial District on November 2, 2004 and took office January 10, 2005. Since then Charles has been re-elected without opposition in 2008, 2012 and is unopposed in 2016.

Charles believes the prosecutor’s office must be more than just a mechanism to incarcerate offenders. He believes the office should support all facets of the community; from developing an active consumer protection division, starting a first of its kind property crimes compensation board to reimagining how victims of crime are addressed by the court system. Charles is an integral part of planning a local behavioral health court that will divert those with mental health problems away from the court system, sparing them criminal records that can jeopardize their support and housing.

Charles is also leading the charge in finding fair justice. He is actively engaged in state and national efforts to determine the best practices for prosecutors’ offices across the country. These efforts are aimed at making sure the rights of individuals are protected while serving the interests of justice. Where defendants are held accountable for their actions and crime victims are afforded the respect and dignity they deserve.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

Following the national trend, Douglas County, Kansas has experienced an explosion in its female jail population. Most incarcerated females are being held for misdemeanor or drug offenses, with a significant portion of the population in-custody because of failure on pre-trial release or probation.

Diversion has long been used to divert low level offenders away from the criminal justice system. Historically, any history of prior offenses has barred participation in standard diversion programs. Since standard diversion programs are designed to address low level offenders, support services such as drug treatment, employment assistance and housing stabilization are not addressed. 

Solution

The District Attorney’s Office is developing a new pre-trial, prosecutor-led diversion program aimed at nonviolent repeat female offenders that will allow for quick release of the female to meaningful monitoring program with support services aimed at addressing substance abuse, mental health, housing and employment, resulting in restoration of their social status. The goal of the program is to rapidly divert the defendant from the jail to a system that addresses underlying issues contributing to her criminal behavior. If she successfully completes the support program, pending charges are dismissed with prejudice. We would start with a data-driven review of the target population and then engage local stakeholders to create a map of available resources to support them.