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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75729 Find in a Library
Title: Diversion Programs - Issues and Practices
Journal: Pretrial Services Annual Journal  Volume:3  Dated:(1980)  Pages:20-51
Author(s): M Crohn
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 32
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the reasons pretrial diversion programs have failed to proliferate as successfully as desired, issues which diversion programs should face, and a suggested role for diversion programs.
Abstract: Diversion prgrams were originally conceived as avenues for assisting the poor and minorities and were structured as alternatives to the criminal justice system. Social priorities changed, however, and interest in establishing special avenues of help for those outside the social mainstream declined. Additionally, the process of diverting defendants without trial, the practice of excluding some classes of defendants, and the discretionary practices of the courts in making diversion decisions came under question. As a result, diversion programs moved from being alternative avenues outside the system to being components of the established criminal justice system. This movement has resulted in application of accountability standards and formal measures of performance, which diversion programs were not structured to use. Many programs have been found unproductive and have been terminated. While the concept of diversion from prosecution is well established, current practices of pretrial diversion are questionable. In addition, the existence of diversion programs may be an impediment to more fundamental changes which are required. The continuation of the current system of pretrial diversion should be reconsidered. Nevertheless, the social conditions which originally prompted the program still exist. The current emphasis on a punitive approach to criminal justice administration should be reconsidered, and diversion programs should be continued as an alternative nonpunitive approach to the complex problem of criminal behavior. Diversion program advocates should also consider the problem of official intrusion into citizen's lives and the extent and nature of this activity which should be permitted in diversion programming. Footnotes which include references are included.
Index Term(s): Diversion programs; United States of America
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