Diversion Programs are procedures in the justice system that permit offenders to avoid criminal charges and criminal records. Diversion programs are carried out by the police department, the courts or the district attorney’s office.
Prosecution can be prevented if offenders follow the different mandatory conditions for the program which include education aimed at preventing future misdemeanors, rectifying and making apologies to the victims, performing community service hours and staying away from situations for a particular time period that may result to committing similar crimes.
Youth diversion programs have provided evidence for improvements in outcomes and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. Experts state that allowing young offenders to be handled by the justice system often is more detrimental than helpful. It is better to have them enrolled in juvenile justice diversion programs.
The whole idea behind diversion programs for offenders is that the courts may unintentionally stigmatize some young offenders for minor petty crimes that might have been better taken cared of outside the formal system. These programs, to a certain extent, help alleviate the problem of overburdened juvenile courts and the overpopulated offender corrections institutions. As a consequence, courts and institutions are able to attend to the more serious offenders.
Crime diversion programs for juvenile delinquents and those for adults are basically different from each other. Substance abuse and mental health issues more often are the main causes of the young’s criminal behavior. Successful diversion of young offenders means diverting them away from the system instead of pulling them to the net-widening process where, instead of leading them away from imprisonment, it draws them deeper into the juvenile justice system.
The most efficacious programs have been those that give more extensive and wide-ranging services. Risk management efforts are coupled with intervention programs that address major risk factors associated with recidivism. Trained and skilled youth caseworkers are especially crucial to a program’s success.