The Caddo District Attorney's Office is introducing a new diversion program aimed at ending the vicious cycle of prostitution.

It's called Exit Strategy and it's the brainchild of Assistant DA Holly McGinness, who -- at age 29 -- has already become known to the public for several second-degree murder and talking prosecutions, and for success in prosecuting the abuser of the dog we all know as Braveheart.

According to a DA's Office news release, the program has been in the setup and planning stages since mid-2015, but began just weeks ago. The court has partnered with faith-based 'Purchased: Not for Sale,' an affiliate of the downtown Hub Ministries, to present this program. The organization's primary mission is to put an end to sex trafficking.

Hub Ministries leader Cassie Hammett said Exit Strategy is already showing some success.

"We had a girl in our program who was arrested 35 times before entering," she said. "She hasn't been (arrested) and won't be since finishing our program. When it's mandated by the court, they're more than likely going to take it more seriously than the people who do it voluntarily. With the weight of the DA's office behind it, the potential will be even greater for us to help. I think it will be more than we can imagine, especially as the word spreads." will the program work? People arrested for prostitution and booked into Caddo Correctional Center can agree to enter the Exit Strategy program, and will be released on their own recognizance or on a reduced bond. But they have to report to the Purchased facility or call its hotline within 48 hours, then follow the provisions of the program.

"While they are in the program we are essentially deferring prosecution of their pending charge," McGinness said. "So long as they report to the program, do everything they are supposed to do, stay out of trouble, at the completion of the program we'll nolle pros their charges, or dismiss their case. In the event they don't report, they stop showing or stop participating, we'll get out a bench warrant, they're re-arrested and they're back in the system. We proceed as normal."

The program typically lasts a year, but may go up to 18 months. It offers access to free medical care, substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, GED classes if needed, job training, financial literacy classes and parenting skills classes, if necessary. Participants also get a bus pass and a merit-based savings account.

McGinness said so far, only five people -- all but one female -- have entered the program. A similar program is being put together for juvenile offenders.

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