Diversion Programs | Youth.gov (2023)

While it is recognized that some youth commit serious offenses and may need to be confined within a secure setting, research has shown that many youth in the juvenile justice system are there for relatively minor offenses, have significant mental health disorders, and end up in out-of-home placement or on probation by default.1 Diversion programs are therefore beneficial alternatives to initial or continued formal processing of youth in the juvenile delinquency system.

Why Diversion Programs?

The purpose of diversion programs is to redirect youthful offenders from the justice system through programming, supervision, and supports. Arguments that support diversion programs include the following:

  • Diverting youth who have committed minor offenses away from the system and towards community-based treatment involving the youth's family and service/support options unique to the individual's needs is a more appropriate response than confinement. Employing diversion programs rather than going through the formal system is a more productive way of addressing and preventing future delinquency, thus reducing recidivism. 2It grants youth the chance to alter their trajectory and decision making moving forward without unnecessary and long-lasting punitive consequences.
  • Formally processing youth through the juvenile justice system does more harm than good by perpetuating delinquency through a stigmatizing ”labeling” process. Labeling youth as delinquent can create a self-fulfilling prophesy and expose youth to circumstances within juvenile and adult correctional institutions that may actually increase delinquency.3
  • The cost of community-based services and diversion programs is significantly less than the cost of incarceration and expensive out-of-home or residential placement facilities.4 As such, implementing diversion programming for youth adjudicated delinquent reduces system costs and preserves necessary public resources for the handling of more serious crimes.

What Do Diversion Programs Look Like?

Diversion programs are typically designed to provide youth with experiences that are different from traditional juvenile justice experiences. Diversion decisions and activities usually occur at the earliest stages of involvement in the juvenile justice system; however, diversion initiatives can be put in place at later stages of justice processing with the primary goal of reducing costly out-of-home placements.

The structure and operation of diversion programs vary, but the overall goals are typically the same: namely, to address delinquent behavior informally in the community in an effort to prevent subsequent offending.5 Some diversion programs are established to provide specialized programs to better meet the needs of youth with mental health and/or substance abuse concerns. Typical services provided for youth and families in diversion programs include one or more of the following:

  • Screening and assessment
  • Education and tutorial services
  • Victim awareness classes and activities
  • Service-learning programs
  • Substance use education and counseling
  • Job skills training
  • Mental health treatment
  • Crisis intervention
  • Family counseling
  • Parenting skill development
  • Supports for rebuilding family relationships
  • Quality recreation and organized sports programs

According to the National Center on Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, services delivered through diversion programs typically occur in the community either on school campuses, on community sites, or in the youth’s home.

What are the Benefits of Diversion Programs?

The benefits of diversion programs have been well documented. Four of the major benefits of successful diversion programs are:

  • a reduction of premature involvement in the “deep end” of the juvenile delinquency system
  • a reduction in out-of-home placements, especially for younger children
  • maintaining youth connectedness and engagement in the community by keeping the youth in their environment
  • a reduction in cost compared to court processing and/or secure placement.6

Diversion can be an integral part of any jurisdiction’s graduated continuum of options for youth already involved or at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system.

In recent years more research has been conducted exploring the potential harms of diversion programs as well, suggesting that continued work on the efficacy and implementation of diversion programming is necessary. Drawbacks of diversion programming may include: net widening (assigning diversion programming to youth who otherwise would not have been in contact with the justice system, rather than exclusively implementing diversion interventions on the target population of delinquent youth who without diversion efforts would be in the deep end of the juvenile justice system), increased recidivism due to the low-stakes consequences that youth perceive from diversion measures, and inequitable access to and use of diversion programming wherein Black and other non-White youth are disproportionately ushered into the formal juvenile justice system rather than being offered diversion programming to the extent of their White counterparts. 7

Enduring analysis of diversion-centered graduated sanctions continues, and the advancement of research on diversion programming best practices is both inevitable and necessary.


Diversion Programs
This website lists different types and examples of diversion programs offered by the federal government, particularly in Washington, DC, and the surrounding area.

Diversion Programs I-Guide
This guide provides an overview of the common implementation process for diversion programs, references a variety of diversion research, and includes suggestions on how to deal with challenges in implementation. Juvenile justice professionals can use this guide as they prepare to implement a pre-adjudication diversion program.

Environmental Scan of Developmentally Appropriate Criminal Justice Responses to Justice-Involved Young Adults (PDF, 87 pages)
This report presents findings of an environmental scan that identified programs addressing the developmental needs of young adults involved in the criminal justice system. It also discusses legislation with provisions sensitive to the developmental level and maturation of justice-involved young adults.

Juvenile Diversion Guidebook (PDF, 168 pages)
This guidebook clarifies what diversion is, discusses how to best develop and improve diversion programs, and describes effective models of change within juvenile diversion. Included is a Juvenile Diversion Workbook that provides practitioners with structure during their planning and implementation processes. This guidebook discusses only pre-trial diversion and does not focus on detention diversion programs that occur post-adjudication.

Practical Tips for Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts to Implement (PDF, 13 pages)
This guide describes the objectives outlined in OJJDP’s Juvenile Drug Treatment Guidelines (PDF, 60 pages) and provides suggested short-term and long-term actions related to each objective. Juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTC) can use this information to guide the implementation, operation, and evaluation of their practices.

Psychiatric Disorders in Youth After Detention (PDF, 20 pages)
This bulletin discusses long-term persistence trends of psychiatric disorders in youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice system. The document demonstrates the importance of continued and accessible treatment for youth during their time of incarceration and after reentry. Due to mental health disorders present for many previously incarcerated youth long after detention, it is recommended that more mental health support be provided to youth during incarceration or placement and continued years after release.

Randomized Controlled Trials of Criminal Justice Programs and Practices (Funding Opportunity) (PDF, 8 pages)
This ongoing request for proposals seeks grant applications to conduct randomized controlled trials of criminal justice programs and practices. The ultimate goal of this effort is to build credible evidence about “what works” to improve criminal justice outcomes and, in particular, grow the number of criminal justice interventions rigorously shown to better people’s lives.


1 Skowyra & Powell, 2006
2 Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, National Juvenile Defender Center, National Youth Screening and Assessment Project, & Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, 2011
3 Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, National Juvenile Defender Center, National Youth Screening and Assessment Project & Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, 2011
4 Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, National Juvenile Defender Center, National Youth Screening and Assessment Project & Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, 2011
5 Stewart, 2008
6 Dembo, Wareham & Schmeidler, 2005; Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, National Juvenile Defender Center, National Youth Screening and Assessment Project, & Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, 2011
7Farrell, Betsinger & Hammond, 2018


What are disadvantages of diversion programs? ›

Cons of Diversion Programs:
  • The offender is forced to admit their crime to the prosecutor and sign a written confession.
  • Only the prosecutor can decide if the diversion contract was fulfilled.
  • The diversion program often ends around twelve months, which might not be enough time for the offender to reform.
Apr 30, 2022

What happens if you get a JLO? ›

If you are caught after a serious offence they are generally given out. You are normally arrested by the Garda officer that catches you offending. Your name is generally taken and your parents or guardians are contacted.

What evidence suggests that diversion programs are effective in reducing juvenile recidivism? ›

Yes, diversion is more effective in reducing recidivism than conventional judicial interventions according to peer-reviewed research. When youth assessed as low risk are diverted, they are 45% less likely to reoffend than comparable youth facing formal court processing.

What factors might adversely affect appropriate implementation of a diversion program? ›

One of the most common challenges to implementing a diversion program is having an adequate number of services for the diverted youths. Overestimating the capacity of treatment providers to handle large caseloads results in delayed treatment delivery, case attrition, or failure to provide treatment.

How effective is diversion? ›

Conclusions: Treatment accessed via community-based diversion is effective at reducing drug use in Class A drug-using offenders. Evidence of a reduction in offending amongst this group as a result of diversion is uncertain.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of diversion channels? ›

Advantages: They can remove pressure of the main channel and can become new habitats and serve other purposes e.g. leisure, drinking water. Disadvantages: Building dams, sluices, diversion channels are all expensive.

Has JLo ever been sued? ›

In 2019, Lopez was sued for copyright infringement over a photo she posted to her Instagram Story in 2017. The lawsuit, filed by Splash News and Picture Agency, is in regards to a photo of Lopez and Alex Rodriguez holding hands on a sidewalk in New York City, according to court documents.

What age range is a juvenile? ›

A juvenile is any person who is not yet an adult. In most states and the District of Columbia, individuals under 18 years of age are considered juveniles.

Did JLo give her rings back? ›

Though Lopez gave the ring back when they ended the engagement in 2004, she recalled how much she "loved getting it" in a 2020 interview with Apple Music host Zane Lowe.

What types of offenders are best suited for diversion? ›

Police may consider diverting a suspect when the offense is minor (e.g., a traffic violation) and the suspect is calm and deferential. In more-formal situations, there is typically a program that the accused must complete as a condition of diversion.

What is the most positive characteristic of diversion programs? ›

Employing diversion programs rather than going through the formal system is a more productive way of addressing and preventing future delinquency, thus reducing recidivism. It grants youth the chance to alter their trajectory and decision making moving forward without unnecessary and long-lasting punitive consequences.

What theory is most associated with diversion programs? ›

Differential association theory argues that youths can learn antisocial attitudes and behaviors by associating with peers who exhibit such behavior (Cressey 1952).

What are three objectives of diversion? ›

The purposes of diversion are generally thought to include relief to the courts, police department, and probation office, better outcomes compared to the direct involvement of the court system, and an opportunity for the offender to avoid prosecution by completing various requirements for the program.

What is successful diversion? ›

A defendant would be deemed to have successfully completed the judicial diversion program when they complete all court-ordered terms, conditions, and programs, which can include community services, treatment programs, anger management or domestic violence classes among others.

What are the primary goals of diversion practices? ›

The goal of diversion is to remove youths as early in the juvenile justice process as possible to avoid later negative outcomes associated with formal processing, such as increased odds of recidivism, stigmatization/labeling, and increased criminal justice costs (for more information on the potential harm of further ...

Which of the following is an advantage of diversion programs? ›

d. Diversion allows the inmate out of their cell for longer lengths of time.

What is an example of a diversion technique? ›

Diversion techniques: Activities such as social contact, work, play, visual imagery, and physical activity are used to reduce strong emotions and decrease negative thinking.

What is the process of diversion? ›

A diversion is an alternative procedure in a criminal case where the prosecution is interrupted through a deal between the defendant and the prosecutor where the prosecutor either dismisses the charges completely or does not bring any charges to begin with.

What is an example of a diversion channel? ›

Water diversion channels can redistribute water from one region to another region that is experiencing severe drought. For example, a river diversion project in China provides water from the Yangtze River to the Yellow River where extreme droughts occur[11].

What is the disadvantage of channel bonding? ›

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Channel Bonding

➨The user data from multiple internet connections are routed to channel bonding hardware company for processing. This leads to security threats as visibility of data is available with third party. ➨Channel bonding and hardware and software require subscription from user.

What was the reason JLo broke up with? ›

Out of respect for them, the only other comment we have to say is thank you to everyone who has sent kind words and support." People reported at the time that the reason for their split was because Lopez had trouble trusting Rodriguez, with a source telling the publication: "She insisted on it.

How much money did Jennifer Lopez donate? ›

Jennifer Lopez Partners With Microfinance Nonprofit To Give Latina Entrepreneurs $14 Billion Capital Boost.

Did they cut a rod out of JLo documentary? ›

But it's odd for a documentary about a certain time in Lopez's life to basically ignore a relationship that was a major part of her world during that era. Lopez hasn't otherwise addressed why Rodriguez was cut from the documentary completely.

What is the youngest age to go to jail? ›

There is no minimum age for criminal responsibility. Children below age 14 can only face incarceration if they are proven to have enough discernment between right and wrong. Incarceration starting at age 14.

What's the oldest you can be in juvenile? ›

In most states, the juvenile court has original jurisdiction over all youth charged with a criminal law violation who were below the age of 18 at the time of the offense, arrest, or referral to court.

What is the lowest juvenile age? ›

Minimum Age of Juvenile Adjudication
1015 states and territories: American Samoa, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin
111 state: Nebraska
123 states: California, Massachusetts, Utah
4 more rows
Aug 12, 2021

Who gave JLo the most expensive ring? ›

Jennifer Lopez's 15-Carat Ring From Alex Rodriguez Cost $1 Million.

Is JLo richer than Ben Affleck? ›

As of 2032, Јеnnіfеr Lореz's nеt wоrth is estimated to be anywhere between $400 and $450 mіllіоn. Ѕhе еаrnѕ an estimated $40 mіllіоn per year, according to Celebrity Net Worth. By comparison, Lopez's beau Ben Affleck's net worth is a reported $150 million as of 2022.

How much does JLo engagement ring cost? ›

According to reports, the ring has a green diamond as a stone with two other clear diamonds on it. Nevertheless, other rumors believe the stone of the ring is an emerald. JLo's new engagement ring has an estimated value of $5 million. Other publications assured the cost could reach $10 million.

Who is most likely to be offered pretrial diversion? ›

What offenders are eligible for diversion? Many pretrial diversion programs only accept first-time offenders, or defendants who have a fairly clean criminal record.

What is behavioral diversion? ›

What is Behavioral Health Diversion? • Jail diversion as a community-based, collaborative. criminal justice–mental health response for justice- involved people with mental illnesses where jail time is reduced or avoided, and the individual is linked to comprehensive and appropriate services.

What are three components of the diversionary programs? ›

Identify the core components of diversion programs.

For example, the Juvenile Breaking the Cycle program has three core components: 1) judicial oversight (setting); 2) urinalysis testing (structure); and 3) substance use and mental health services treatment (type of intervention).

Which of the following type of juvenile is a good candidate for a diversion program? ›

A repeat status offender is a good candidate for a diversion program. A shelter-care facility is a secure residential facility for juveniles.

What punishments generally fall between diversion and imprisonment? ›

Intermediate sanctions, such as intensive supervision probation, financial penalties, house arrest, intermittent confinement, shock probation and incarceration, community service, electronic monitoring, and treatment are beginning to fill the gap between probation and prison.

What are five possible intake decisions that might be made in the juvenile justice process? ›

The juvenile justice process involves nine major decision points: (1) arrest, (2) referral to court, (3) diversion, (4) secure detention, (5) judicial waiver to adult criminal court, (6) case petitioning, (7) delinquency finding/adjudication, (8) probation, and (9) residential placement, including confinement in a ...

What are the factors of diversion? ›

Diversion decision-making often incorporates two main factors: the individual's likelihood (risk) to reoffend and the severity of the alleged instant offense.

What is the difference between prevention and diversion? ›

Diversion is targeted to those who have already lost their own housing, are doubled up, and are running out of places to stay. Prevention is targeted to individuals and families who currently have housing but are at risk of homelessness.

What is the biggest advantage to diversion quizlet? ›

Which of the following is an advantage of using diversion? It gives offenders an opportunity for individualized assistance before they get too far down the path of crime.

What is rapid diversion? ›

The Center is helping to implement the LA-based Rapid Diversion Program, which helps individuals with mental health diagnoses connect with case management, treatment, housing and job services, and cases are dismissed when a participant completes the program.

What is risk of diversion? ›

n the risk that a person who is a party to a contract will default on their obligations under that contract.

What is the biggest advantage to diversion? ›

Diversion can also be less costly than other criminal justice processing. In many cases treatment or counseling is less expensive than prosecution and incarceration. The most obvious benefit of diversion programs is that they avoid the expense and harshness of the full operation of the criminal law.

Which of the following is the main point of diversion programs? ›

Most diversion programs aim to minimize contact with the criminal legal system and shift those involved away from arrest, prosecution, and incarceration.

What is the advantage of a diversion facility? ›

Advantages: • Reduces the volume of flow across disturbed areas, thereby reducing the potential for erosion. Breaks up concentration of water on long slopes. Maintaining a separation between clean water and sediment-laden water allows sediment basins and traps to function more efficiently.

What is an advantage of a diversionary treatment program? ›

diversionary treatment programs have three advantages: They reduce the demands on the court and prosecutors to process the case as a criminal activity, They cost considerably less than criminal justice processing. Offenders avoid the stigma associated with a criminal conviction. that excessive bail may not be required.

What is rule of diversion? ›

Explanation. --"Diversion" in this section means using land assessed to one purpose for any other purpose, but using land for the purpose of agriculture where it is assessed with reference to any other purpose shall not be deemed to be diversion.

Why you think jail diversion programs are growing in popularity? ›

By targeting the underlying problems that led to the crime in the first place, effective diversion programs can improve long-term community safety and reduce recidivism far more effectively than warehousing someone in a prison cell before turning them back onto the streets.

Which of the following is characteristic of diversion programs? ›

Which of the following is characteristic of diversion programs? A defendant does not have a formal record of conviction after the completion of a diversion program.

Which of the following is not an advantage of a diversionary treatment program? ›

Which of the following is NOT an advantage of a diversionary treatment program? Diversionary treatment programs generally do not involve community treatment programs. Fewer than 30 percent of felony cases result in a guilty plea by the defendant, and instead go to trial.


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