Introduction to the Special Issue on Diversion from Standard Prosecution
Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 39, Issue 4 (April 2012), pp. 349-350
3 Pages Posted: 5 May 2021
Date Written: April 1, 2012
Over the past two decades, there has been a paradigm shift in how the criminal justice system handles specific types of offenders. The initial impetus for this shift was the long-overdue recognition that standard criminal justice processing was not resulting in meaningful reductions in drug use and criminal recidivism among drug-involved offenders. As a result, courts across the United States began developing specialized dockets designed to address the specific criminogenic risk factors of drug-involved offenders. The advent of drug treatment courts was the beginning of a new generation of specialty courts and other community-based efforts to deal with specific types of offenders. Although these efforts began with a focus on drug-involved offenders, community-based alternatives to standard prosecution were soon developed for other subsets of offenders, including those with mental health problems.
Drug courts and mental health courts have received a good deal of attention, but specialty courts are only one type of community-based diversion program. Indeed, there are a range of community-based alternatives to standard prosecution that span the entire criminal justice continuum. In this regard, the Sequential Intercept Model developed by Munetz andGriffin (2006) provides a useful organizing framework. This model describes five points at which standard criminal justice processing can be interrupted (or intercepted) and individuals can be diverted from standard prosecution: (1) law enforcement and emergency services; (2) post-arrest: initial detention/hearing and pre-trial services; (3) post-initial hearings: jails/prisons, courts, forensic evaluations, and commitments; (4) re-entry from jails, prisons, and forensic hospitalization; and (5) community corrections and community support. Each of these intercepts provides an opportunity to intervene with offenders andpotentially break the costly and ineffective cycle of arrest, incarceration, release, and re-arrest that has often characterized the criminal justice system's response to certain types of offenders.This special issue presents the most up-to-date research on diversion from standard prosecution.
Keywords: Special Issues, Standard Prosecution
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