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Posted on: April 9, 2018

MCAO Creates New Bureau Focused on Offering Help to Defendants and Reducing Recidivism

PHOENIX- On April 9, 2018 the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office implemented a newly created Diversion Programs Bureau that will be tasked with administering and monitoring diversion programs as part of the Office’s focus on prosecution led diversion.

The Office currently can offer offenders the ability to participate in five different diversion programs and an additional set of juvenile diversion programs provided in conjunction with the juvenile probation department. These programs offer offenders who are facing criminal charges the ability to defer the charging process and enter into a diversion program. These programs can offer education, treatment or both to help the offender focus on the issues that may have led to their criminal actions and prevent them from committing another offense in the future.

“Diversion programs offer our prosecutors another option to help seek justice and reduce crime, said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “Our success is not achieved through simply tracking wins or losses, which we do not do, but rather we measure success by seeking justice for the victims, the offender and our community. Programs like diversion allow eligible offenders a chance to stay in their communities while learning the skills to stop the cycle that may cause them to reoffend in the future”

Each case that is submitted to the Office is reviewed by a prosecutor and part of the review includes identifying offenders who would benefit from a diversion program rather than traditional prosecution through the courts.  Offenders who choose to go through diversion can, upon successful completion of the program, have their charges dismissed or not filed at all.

Currently, the office offers diversion programs in the following categories: drug diversion, child abuse/excessive punishment diversion, Felony Pretrial Intervention, misdemeanor diversion, bad check writing diversion and juvenile diversion. The new bureau will be able to assess program outcomes, engage in continuous program improvement and evaluate the need for future diversion program types.

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