Letter: Donovan backing Marthage for State Atty.

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To the Editor:I write to support Erica Marthage for her reelection as Bennington County State's Attorney.As Attorney General for the State of Vermont, I am dedicated to developing and implementing restorative and community-based justice programs, addressing the opiate crisis in Vermont, and maintaining a safe and vibrant community for all Vermonters. I have had the opportunity to work with Erica Marthage on all of these issues. Innovative thinking and the ability to adapt is the key to criminal justice reform - and Erica has increasingly demonstrated these traits. Restorative and community-based justice programs help alleviate the burden of minor crimes on our criminal justice system. Erica has continued to divert cases to these alternative justice programs. More importantly, Erica has increased her referrals. These numbers represent more than just a promising trend; they are the result of hard work, forward-thinking and an evolving approach taken by Erica Marthage and her staff. Erica has demonstrated a deep understanding of, and commitment to, addressing the opiate crisis in Vermont. Her adoption of the Treatment Diversion program is an important part of a community-based response. This program transitions individuals suffering from drug addiction issues to treatment options, rather than incarcerating them. Erica has worked with community partners and treatment providers to fashion a program which addresses the underlying root causes of criminal behavior. Erica's expansive use of youthful offender status has helped juveniles avoid a permanent criminal record, while making amends to victims and the community. She recently implemented a pre-charge juvenile program that ensures kids who are in need of assistance would never have to see the inside of a courtroom. This is an important step forward. The two expungement clinics, which she held, are a smart on crime approach. Criminal records keep people sidelined; inhibiting them from getting jobs and housing. The best form of public safety is a good job and expungements are a step to achieving that goal for so many folks. I am supporting Erica as Bennington County State's Attorney, because of her leadership, dedication, integrity, and willingness to challenge the conventional wisdom of the criminal justice system. Throughout her career, Erica has evolved, and now seeks to balance the underlying causes of criminality while maintaining the public safety. I believe she is the right choice for Bennington County State's Attorney and ask that you please support her in the primary on August 14th.TJ DonovanMontpelierThe author is Vermont Attorney General.


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