In the criminal justice system, diversion refers to a process whereby a person who has been accused or charged with a crime is diverted from the traditional criminal justice process and instead receives some form of alternative punishment or treatment.
Diversion programs are typically used for individuals who have committed relatively minor offenses and who may be amenable to rehabilitation or treatment. The goal of diversion is to prevent individuals from entering the criminal justice system or from becoming repeat offenders and to instead provide them with the necessary resources and support to address the underlying issues that may have led to their criminal behavior.
There are many different diversion programs, including drug treatment, community service, and restorative justice programs. The criminal justice system can administer diversion programs, or community-based organizations can provide them. In order to be eligible for diversion, an individual may need to plead guilty or no contest to the charges against them and agree to participate in the diversion program. If the individual successfully completes the program, the charges against them may be dismissed or reduced.