Diversion Programs

Doctor counseling people at group therapy flat vector illustration. Men and women in psychologist session talking about problems. Medical support and addiction and psychotherapy concept


As governments have grappled with ways to reduce incarceration and provide better outcomes for justice-involved people, diversion programs have emerged as a valuable tool. Diversion is premised on the idea that many people who end up in prison for issues related to poverty and addiction could have avoided this outcome with targeted interventions. Diversion provides these interventions by providing resources to meet an individual’s needs. In some cases, this might be drug treatment, in other cases it might be help writing a resume to get a job. Diversion can take place before arrest, by empowering law enforcement officers to connect people who might otherwise be arrested with a case manager who can help them get back on track. Post-arrest diversion programs can provide similar services, albeit later in the legal process. Well-constructed diversion programs intervene as quickly as possible and provide evidence-based interventions to create better outcomes for individuals and taxpayers. States can support these programs by creating diversion programs directly, encouraging their creation at the local level, enabling private partners to operate diversion programs, and ensuring that they are available to as many people as possible.

Diversion Programs-01
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Pre-Arrest Diversion

Are pre-arrest diversion programs widely available in the state?

50 points

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Post-Arrest Diversion

Are post-arrest diversion programs widely available in the state?

20 points

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Are programs equally accessible by all justice-involved people, including funding for indigent people?

15 points

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Program Quality

Do available diversion programs provide evidence-based, non-carcereal interventions that are needs-based and can be completed within a reasonable time frame?

15 points