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Diversion - Assignment Example

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Diversion in the United States Law First name, last name Subject Professor Submission Date Abstract Pre-trial Diversion has for a quite a few years now become a feature of the United States Criminal Justice system whose use and popularity has continued to grow…
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Download file to see previous pages Apart from ensuring basic fairness in the application of criminal law, diversion has also had the effect of increasing the efficiency of the system by freeing up resources that can then be directed to more serious legal issues. It also has resulted, in many cases in a great deal of cost savings for the stretched budgets of many criminal justice departments throughout the country. Introduction Diversion is the conditional changing or suspension before the conviction of formal criminal proceedings against a person, in return for which the defendant performs certain agreed activities such as restitution, community service or undergoing treatment options. This process, when successfully completed, results not only in the stopping of the conviction for the crime but also in the expunging of the criminal incident from public records or the sealing of the record. In other instances it may also lead to a reduction of a sentence. Diversion offers an opportunity to provide a more comprehensive and efficient approach to managing the defendants flowing into the system and the utilization of court resources by determining which type of case intervention is most appropriate for any given case (National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies, 2008). 1. There are various reasons that have been advanced for diversion as provided for in United States law. One reason is that it allows for the management of not just the crime but the underlying cause of the reported criminal behavior. Except for a few cases, diversion is primarily applied to first-time offenders, and in a majority of the cases, these are usually juvenile offenders. A lot of the times that these offenders are brought to court for minor charges that are usually related to the kind of environment they are brought up in, depending on the nature of the charges. Mino drug possession offenses, such as possession of small amounts of marijuana are some of the offenses that qualify for diversion (Steadman & Naples, 2005). In many cases such as these, the offenders are not only given an opportunity to confess their crimes, they are also given a chance to have their criminal record wiped clean, as long as they participate in an educational program on the dangers of drug use and drug possession. Diversion requirements may include making restitution to any victims of a crime, attending an educational program and performing community service or any combination of these. In a majority of these cases, the fact that the offenders have been offered a “second chance” has been known to be enough of a caution to ensure that the criminal behavior does not occur again (Steadman & Naples, 2005). The other reason that diversion is used is because in some of the cases, the criminal behavior is caused by underlying mental and psychological disorders, which are better dealt with through treatment than through incarceration. It is estimated that up to seven percent of all persons charged with criminal offenses and imprisoned have some form or degree of mental or social disorder which is usually the underlying cause or trigger for the crime. Studies have shown that a large majority of these cases suffer from mood disorders and schizophrenia, with most of the patients (two out of three) being female. Studies have also shown that diversion improves the quality of life in cases of offenders who undergo treatment programs rather than incarceration (Steadman & Naples, 2005). A third reason why diversion is used ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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