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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 82024 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Review of Selected Research and Program Evaluations on Police Diversion Programs
Author(s): D M Altschuler; J S Lawrence
Corporate Author: University of Chicago
National Ctr for Assessment of Alternatives to Juvenile Justice Processing
United States of Amer
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 81
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL 60637
US Securities and Exchange Cmssn
Washington, DC 20549-2736
Grant Number: 77-JN-99-0002
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This review of police diversion programs for juveniles nationwide compares program goals and objectives, use of formal and informal diversion, the auspices under which the programs operate, intake criteria, due process issues, and effectiveness.
Abstract: Program evaluations and descriptions were obtained through a nationwide telephone survey of juvenile justice specialists. Information was requested on police alternatives to traditional juvenile justice processing and dispositions. Seven programs (five county and two city) are illustrative of a number of different ways jurisdictions are pursuing juvenile diversion. Four of the programs studied primarily make referrals to existing community agencies and services; three provide services directly at the police departments. Despite the existence of intake criteria, police decisions regarding preadjudicatory diversion of youths from formal processing remain discretionary. In order for diversion with service to result in a meaningful experience for the youth, appropriate matching of client and vendor is important. Police officers are rarely trained for this time-consuming task. Coercive features may be present not only in the screening process but in service provision itself. It is recommended that a clear distinction be retained between the goal of reducing penetration into the justice system past initial police contact and the goal of providing services without threat of legal action or violation of due process. Screening criteria should focus on clearly enumerated factors in selecting clients for diversion, and line officers should be especially trained for diversion work. A variety of services should be available, and clients should be tracked through the service and after its completion. Finally, outcome measures should reflect the dual goals of diversion -- removing youths from official processing and providing them with desired services. Program descriptions and a diversion form are appended. Notes and 73 references are given.
Index Term(s): Diversion programs; Police discretion; Police diversion; Program evaluation; Status offender diversion
Note: Reports of the National Juvenile Justice Assessment Centers.
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