ASERT does not offer crisis services through our Resource Center. If you or someone you love is experiencing mental health distress or thoughts of suicide please call or text 988 for support.
Diversionary programs are programs for first-time offenders and/or minor or nonviolent offenses that steer an individual away from the traditional criminal justice process to rehabilitative programs in the community. Eligibility for diversionary programs vary by jurisdiction. Diversionary programs are an alternative to the standard court process of a plea and sentence or a trial in the case of a non-guilty plea. For various crimes and offender characteristics, counseling or some type of therapeutic intervention may be the best choice for both the offender and the community. This approach is seen as both effective and less costly than the standard court process.
The goal of diversionary programs is to prevent an individual from becoming a repeat offender and becoming entangled in the justice system. This can be accomplished by helping them avoid incarceration and from developing a criminal record. Features of diversionary programs vary by jurisdiction. Under some diversionary programs, the defendant does not have to enter a guilty or no contest plea to receive diversion. Other diversionary programs require that the defendant formally admit guilt but suspend punishment until the defendant has had the opportunity to complete the assigned program. Often the plea is not formally entered into the court system so it can be erased upon successful completion of the program.
This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.