Wednesday, March 30, 2022 (Phoenix, AZ) – The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced today the launch of its newest pre-trial diversion program designed specifically for Veterans. The Veterans’ Diversion Program, which will take effect on April 4, 2022, will provide evidence-based services and treatment to eligible Veterans prior to conviction.
For those Veterans who struggle to return to civilian life or encounter military-related trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), treatment and services may be out of reach. This can lead to issues with domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse or, in some cases, mental health disorders and suicide. The Veterans’ Diversion Program is designed to identify and treat those issues unique to Veterans. A Veteran who successfully completes the program will have their charges dismissed, thereby eliminating potential barriers to employment and government services.
“The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office operates one of the most comprehensive pre-trial diversion programs in the country, empowering eligible offenders to become productive citizens with community-based education and treatment programs as an alternative to prosecution,” said Chief Deputy Ken Vick. “With the launch of the Veterans’ Diversion Program, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office continues its efforts to address underlying substance abuse or mental health issues, reduce recidivism, and preserve limited prosecutorial resources.”
The Veterans’ Diversion Program will be operated in coordination with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and contracted service providers Averhealth and EMPACT.
“I salute the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Veterans’ Diversion Program for implementing a pre-trial diversion program providing Veterans with the treatment and services needed as they work through the unique challenges they often face with criminal conduct, substance use disorder, mental health issues as well as unemployment and housing,” said Ret. U.S. Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Averhealth Board Member. “The fact that their criminal charges are suspended during the program, and, if they are successful, their felony charge is dismissed, is a much-needed solution for our Veterans as one door closes and a new door opens for them. I am pleased that Averhealth is in partnership with MCAO for this worthwhile opportunity so Veterans can lead a successful life beyond the issues they face when they return home.”
“EMPACT-Suicide Prevention Center is honored and grateful to be able to partner with MCAO on their new Veterans’ Diversion Program,” said Regional Vice President Erica Chestnut-Ramirez. “EMPACT has a long standing commitment to our Service Members, Veterans and their families in our community and we are excited to be able to expand that commitment on April 4th when the new Veterans’ Diversion Program launches. Thank you to MCAO for bringing these much needed programs and services to our community.”
“The Veterans Justice Outreach supports the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Veterans’ Diversion Program as we believe that it is vital for Justice Involved Veterans to be linked to the Phoenix VA Healthcare System for service connected issues,” said Veterans Justice Programs Supervisor Christopher Wallace.
For more information on the Veterans’ Diversion Program, visit our Diversion page.