PHOENIX— This week, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office participated in the very first Association of Prosecuting Attorneys’ Regional Training for Prosecutor-Led Diversion, held here in Phoenix.
“We have strived to develop successful diversion programs here in Maricopa County, and are proud that our programs now serve as model for other prosecutorial agencies,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “These programs serve a vital role in our criminal justice system and provide a strong rebuke of the mass incarceration myth.”
Diversion programs provide treatment options through safe and effective community-based programs to those who may have committed a criminal offense, usually based on a substance abuse issue or mental illness to which incarceration may not be the best answer.
The two-day training was offered for free through the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) in collaboration with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Center for Court Innovation.
David LaBahn, President and CEO of APA, applauded Montgomery’s leadership in developing MCAO’s diversion programs. “Having prosecutors thoroughly analyze cases to identify individuals who are in need of care versus those who require incarceration provides true service to the community.”
Robert W. Hood, Director of the Community Prosecution and Violent Crime Division for APA agreed saying, "The recently completed training in Phoenix represents an important milestone in the National Prosecutor-Led Diversion Initiative. The APA is highly appreciative of Mr. Montgomery's willingness to host this important event and help the nation's prosecutors build the next generation of prosecutor- led diversion programming."
Those in attendance were able to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to develop and improve prosecutor-led diversion programs in their own jurisdictions.