CHARLOTTE – Some religious leaders are demanding changes to the criminal justice system.

They say the system has turned into a pay-for-play system and that the difference between the haves-and-have-nots is large.

Leaders spotlighted a local man named Rahman Bethea, who they say was charged with stealing $2,000 worth of electronics.

When he was offered the chance to avoid a felony conviction, he had to turn it down because he couldn’t afford the $900 in restitution to get into the diversion program.

Dozens say that’s wrong and too many people are being put in jail because they don’t have enough money.

Bethea was in court Monday, but there’s no comment on his case by the district attorney’s office or what was said by religious leaders Monday morning.

This afternoon we heard from the District Attorney's office. 

In a statement, the office says "The program requires the balance of restitution to be no more than $1000 before they can participate in deferred prosecution. Without this requirement, the DA’s office would be turning its back on innocent victims of crime. This office routinely allows offenders who cannot immediately meet this requirement lengthy periods of time so that they can become eligible for the program."