Access to Change
About Access To Change
The Access to Change (AtC) program is a referral-based online diversion program that aims to divert youth and community members from the criminal punishment system and provide them with skills to build self-determination and self-accountability. By providing an alternative to the traditional criminal justice system and supporting marginalized communities, the program helps to reduce recidivism by dropping charges upon completion of the program and promote positive community connections.
Who Is Eligible For Access To Change?
Eligible participants are determined by the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.
Family or community members may be involved in the program via a goal setting survey.
The program is open to people of all orientations and gender identities.
What Type of Diversion Program Is AtC?
Access to Change is a pre-filing diversion program. This is important to know because it ensures participants can maintain the same level of access to jobs, services, and institutions, which might otherwise be affected by an arraignment or criminal record.
Occassionally the City Attorney’s Office will find some individuals could benefit from the program and are referred as post-filing diversions.
What Happens in the Program and How Long Does It Take?
The program consists of a 5-week workshop series (one workshop per week), happening as a cohort of up to 5 participants, during which participants identify and set goals that build self-determination and self-accountability, establish action plans for those goals, and determine the resources necessary to accomplish those action plans.
What Outcomes Can Participants Expect?
The program aims to divert youth and community members from the criminal punishment system and to give them skills to set goals, establish action plans, and determine necessary resources to build self-determination and self-accountability.
By providing participants with the tools and support needed to build self-determination and self-accountability, the Access to Change program helps to reduce recidivism, promote positive community connections, and support the well-being of individuals and families who have been impacted by the criminal legal system.
Why Should People Participate?
Participation in the program ensures that charges are not filed, or are dropped. Participants are also supported in the program with flexible financial assistance to support attendance, resource referrals, access to a tablet and internet hotspot, and post program check-ins to provide additional support.
Why are Diversion Programs Important?
Diversion programs are important becasue they provide much-needed alternatives to the traditional criminal justice system, which often fails to address the root causes of crime and can be traumatizing and stigmatizing, particularly for marginalized communities.
What Happens if I Miss a Session?
More information coming soon.
Who Runs the Program?
Access to Change is facilitated by Seattle’s LGBTQ+ Center staff in collaboration with the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.
Emails from us use “@gaycity.org” as the domain name. Your referral to the program should arrive by mail from the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.