New Changes to Felony Diversion Programs Improve Access to Treatment for Eligible Offenders
In January 2020, Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel announced program-wide changes to the office’s felony diversion program, which included the elimination of a $630 participation fee that was seen as a barrier to entry in the program. The new Felony Diversion Program, which will begin in April 2020, will enhance efforts to provide education and treatment for individuals suspected or charged with crimes involving specific felony offenses, including the possession of controlled substances, and other non-violent offenses that meet eligibility criteria.
The new program combines what was formerly known as the Drug Diversion Program and Felony Pretrial Intervention Program (FPIP); and will offer a more robust treatment option that addresses the specific underlying behaviors and attitudes that influence criminal behavior. Service delivery will be administered by SAGE Counseling, Inc., a behavioral health organization.
“If we are to make our community safer, we must look at the offender and not just the offense,” states County Attorney Adel. “Diversion programs promote the efficient use of prosecutorial resources, involve victims in the decision-making process, and improve substance abuse and mental health outcomes for offenders. Programs of this nature help us identify opportunities for low-level, non-violent offenders to avoid consequences often seen following a criminal conviction, such as disruption in employment, schooling or family stability.”
The Felony Diversion Program will help MCAO respond more effectively to the needs of adult offenders, by using research-based programs that address specific individual criminogenic needs. Diverting these offenders from prosecution reduces their contact with the criminal justice system, increases connections to appropriate community-based systems of care and holds the individual accountable for criminal conduct. If applicable, offenders are also responsible for paying restitution in full to earn a successful completion; providing timely financial restoration to the victim. If the offender does not successfully complete the diversion program requirements, charges will be reinstated.
- Starting January 1 of this year, those entering the Maricopa County Attorney’s Drug Diversion Program are no longer be required to pay a $630 case fee.
The new program combines what was formerly known as the Drug Diversion Program and Felony Pretrial Intervention Program (FPIP). Services will be offered by SAGE Counseling, Inc., a behavioral health organization.
- Beginning April 2020, Felony Diversion Program participants will be assessed and placed in one of six treatment tracks of evidenced-based programming, offered by new provider, SAGE Counseling, Inc.