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Court diversion program changing lives

May 30, 2023

Having someone there to support you on your toughest day can make all the difference. It can change the course of your life.

When Jonah* was referred to HOPE’s Pilbara Community Alcohol and Drug Service late last year – he knew he needed to turn his life around.

As a result of ongoing issues around alcohol and other drugs (AOD), Jonah had been convicted on criminal charges and was awaiting his sentencing. Prison was a very likely outcome.

He was identified by local police as a potential candidate for HOPE’s court diversion program, which offers convicted offenders a chance to avoid a potential prison sentence by committing to AOD counselling alongside education and development programs.

Putting in the work

While he waited for his sentencing court date, Jonah began working with Bob Brennan, an experienced AOD counsellor and educator at HOPE, and began his rehabilitation and recovery journey.

“Jonah was committed to his rehabilitation – he showed up for counselling, he did the work,” Bob says. “I was more than happy to write a letter of support for Jonah to give the magistrate.”

As part of his role, Bob regularly travels down to Onslow from Karratha to provide outreach services to the community. So when Jonah’s sentencing court date came around, Bob was there for him.

“I was there in court on the day,” he recalls. “When Jonah appeared before the magistrate, both his lawyer and the magistrate himself commented that I was there, in court, in person, supporting him.

“The magistrate noted that he had received my letter of support and that because Jonah was engaging with HOPE, he gave him a suspended prison sentence.

“Without support from HOPE, this man would have gone to prison. I don’t think you can understate the power or the impact of the work we do around AOD counselling and court diversion.”

Jonah himself remains committed to his recovery and has made significant progress. He now has regular work and is spending more time with his family and community.

*Not his real name. Pseudonym has been used.


Hope Community Services provides programs and services across the Pilbara for those concerned about their alcohol and other drug use, or that of a loved one.
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