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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77397 Find in a Library
Title: Referral and Selection Criteria in Deferred Prosecution - The Impact on the Criminal Justice System
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:21  Issue:2  Dated:(April 1981)  Pages:166-172
Author(s): P C Friday; K R Malzahn-Bass; D K Harrington
Corporate Author: Western Michigan University
United States of America
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Kalamazoo Foundation
Kalamazoo, MI 49077
Michigan Office of Criminal Justice
Lansing, MI 48909
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49003
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This paper deals with the prosecutor's discretion to refer and accept an offender into the Citizens' Probation Authority (CPA) in Kalamazoo, Mich., and the impact this has on the criminal justice system itself.
Abstract: CPA has made deferred prosecution available to 200 to 300 people per year since 1972. The program conditionally suspends formal criminal proceedings to allow suspected offenders an opportunity to complete successfully a pretrial period of probation supervision. When the probation is completed, the person's criminal record for that offense is expunged. Hence, deferred prosecution is an attempt to avoid stigmatizing nonviolent offenders who are not perceived to be committed to criminal careers. The referral decision is by law the prosecutor's responsibility. The study's objective is to determine the variables which significantly influence the referral to and selection of clients by CPA. The total population of offenders arrested for CPA eligible offenses in 1973 was reviewed to determine the characteristics of those accepted into the program and those who were rejected. A sample was also taken in 1976 to monitor changes in the process. Each of these cases was then processed in 1977 to determine rearrest. Results show that the typical CPA referee in the 1973 population was a young (17-21 years), white (80 percent), single (59 percent), male (67 percent). He generally had less than a high school education, lived with his parents or in rented accommodation, and had no prior adult arrest record. The offense for which he was most frequently referred was larceny in a building (82 percent). The typical offender not given the CPA option was older, white, single, and male. Like the referee, he lived with his parents and the offense for which he was most frequently arrested was larceny in a building. However, he did have a prior arrest record. Thus, discretion at the referral stage tends to rest fundamentally on prior record, thereby excluding repeat offenders. Data also indicate that after the CPA option became available, more cases, not fewer, were being processed within the system than were processed prior to CPA. Thus, the danger of diversion lies in its overuse and in the forced treatment of those who may not need it. A figure and three references are included.
Index Term(s): Michigan; Offenders; Pretrial intervention; Prosecutorial diversion
Note: Paper condensed from the preliminary and final reports of the Assessment of Kalamazoo County Citizens' Probation Authority and Kalamazoo County Citizens' Probation Authority - A Descriptive Analysis of the Referral and Selection Criteria, January 1, 1973 - January 1, 1974.
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