News Flash

MCAO Latest News

Posted on: January 7, 2020

County Attorney Announces Sweeping Changes to Felony Diversion Program

Phoenix, Arizona – Beginning January 1, 2020, those participating in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Drug Diversion Program will no longer be required to pay a $630 case fee. Under Adel’s leadership, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) will also form a new Felony Diversion Program, which will begin in April 2020, as an education and treatment program 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 Pre-Trial Intervention Program (FPIP); and will offer a more robust treatment option that addresses the specific underlying behaviors and attitudes that affect 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 collateral consequences to a criminal conviction, such as disruption in employment, schooling or family stability.”

The Felony Diversion Program will permit MCAO to respond more effectively to the needs of adult offenders, by using research-based programming to address specific individual criminogenic needs. Diverting these offenders 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 to their case, restitution must be paid in full to earn a successful completion; thus, providing timely financial restoration to the victim.

Beginning April 2020, Felony Diversion Program participants will be assessed and placed in one of six treatment tracks offered by SAGE Counseling, Inc.:

  • TRACK ONE: for LOW risk offenders with a moderate to high substance abuse criminogenic need
  • TRACK TWO: for LOW risk offenders with a moderate to high substance abuse criminogenic need but designed for those who have had success in past substance abuse education/treatment, but have returned to substance use
  • TRACK THREE: for MODERATE risk offenders with a moderate to high substance abuse criminogenic need
  • TRACK FOUR: for HIGH to VERY HIGH risk offenders with a moderate to high substance abuse criminogenic need
  • TRACK FIVE: for LOW risk offenders with low to high criminogenic needs in all other domains except substance abuse
  • TRACK SIX: for MODERATE TO VERY HIGH risk offenders with low to high criminogenic needs in all other domains except substance abuse

For offenders who successfully complete the Felony Diversion Program, the Deputy County Attorney will file a motion to dismiss the charges with prejudice. If unsuccessful, the DCA will reinstate prosecution.

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