What is the impact of online diversion on criminal justice? How does this affect clients? How can a nonprofit help? A nonprofit organization called Fair and Just Prosecution offers guiding principles for diversion programs. These principles include the need to track outcomes, relying on clinical staff to develop treatment plans, and partnering with initiatives outside of the criminal justice system. The article explores the various effects of online diversion on clients.
Pre-charge diversion initiatives are legal procedures where prosecutors delay filing charges for a period of time and require a person to successfully complete a program and meet certain requirements. If a person successfully completes the program, they will avoid the prosecution process altogether. However, if they fail to meet the program’s requirements, prosecutors resume their normal court process and the individual will be charged with a crime. This type of diversion is not available to all people and can be difficult to obtain, due to participation fees and program capacity.
Pretrial defendants are often uncertain about the outcome of their case, and the arrest process itself can cause significant disruption. This uncertainty affects the counselor’s ability to engage individuals in treatment, since the offender isn’t sure whether or not treatment will be a part of the sentencing process. Additionally, a defendant may not know if voluntarily participating in treatment will be more strictly monitored than with standard probation. While the arrest itself is a powerful motivation to engage individuals in treatment, the stress it causes can make the offender less receptive to treatment.