History of diversion in criminal justice


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APPROACHES TO EARLY JAIL DIVERSION: COLLABORATIONS AND INNOVATIONS

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NCJRS Abstract - National Criminal Justice Reference Service

It looks at your family member's mental health status, their current living situation, and their linkages to community support and mental health services. Planning : A diversion program will be developed based on your family member's needs. This can include psychiatric assessment and treatment, securing resources to meet basic needs food, shelter, etc.

Note: Medical treatment is not necessarily part of every diversion plan. The services that are part of this plan should be available to your family member even after the diversion program is completed.

After he or she consents to the plan, it will be presented for approval by the Crown. If your family member does not already have a case manager, the court support worker will find one. Which offences are eligible for diversion? For the purposes of diversion decisions, offences are grouped into three categories: Class I : These minor offences are eligible for diversion. The decision will be based on your family member's situation, the circumstances of the offence, and the needs of the community including the victim.

Diversion Programs

How long will the diversion program last? Diversion programs have no fixed length. Your family member will be expected to stay on the plan until they are stabilized in the community. However, some Crowns will recommend a minimum length for the program. Once the Crown has approved the diversion program, the person's charges can be "stayed.


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A diversion program in the criminal justice system is a form of sentence [1] in which the criminal offender joins a rehabilitation program, which will help remedy the behavior leading to the original arrest, allow the offender to avoid conviction and, in some jurisdictions, hide a criminal record.

The programs are often run by a police department, court, a district attorney 's office, or outside agency.


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The purposes of diversion are generally thought to include relief to the courts, police department and probation office, better outcomes compared to direct involvement of the court system, and an opportunity for the offender to avoid prosecution by completing various requirements for the program. Diversion programs often frame these requirements as an alternative to court or police involvement or, if these institutions are already involved, further prosecution.

Successful completion of program requirements often will lead to a dismissal or reduction of the charges while failure may bring back or heighten the penalties involved. Charges dismissed because of a diversion program will still lead to additional criminal history points under the US Sentencing Guidelines if there was a finding of guilt by a court or the defendant pleaded guilty or otherwise admitted guilt in open court, provided that the deferred disposition or deferred adjudication was not a juvenile matter.

Diversion program

Diversion has played a key role in improving outcomes and rehabilitating youthful offenders. A Juvenile Diversion program has the ability to be used as an intervention strategy for first time offenders who have broken the law and found themselves in the juvenile justice system "Juvenile Diversion Programs". Diversion can ensure that people with mental health problems who enter or are at risk of entering the criminal justice system are identified and provided with appropriate mental health services, treatment and any other support they need.

In the UK, Centre for Mental Health has shown that such diversion represents good value for money, with well-designed intervention helping to reduce reoffending by a third. In February , the UK government pledged to roll out a national liaison and diversion service by , with sites were duly announced by the Department of Health. The availability of diversion programs depends upon the jurisdiction, the nature of the crime usually non-violent offences and in many cases the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

NCJRS Abstract

Pleading guilty is often a prerequisite to access to a diversion program. This means that if a defendant proceeds to a diversion program, then fails to pay the fee for the program, the defendant can be brought back to court and proceed directly to conviction and sentencing. Some jurisdictions in the United States may provide diversion programs for drunk driving charges.

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