Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Carrie A. Weise-Pengelly & Harry R. Dammer
Diversion is a strategy that seeks to avoid formal processing of an offender by the criminal justice system. Diversion occurs when a person has been accused of a crime, but officials decide to halt or suspend the processing of the offender into the system. The case is suspended while the offender is referred to a treatment or care program, or until the offender can prove to the court that he or she will not reoffend. Although diversion generally occurs when it is believed that both the offender and the community will be better off without formal criminal justice processing, it can also occur after conviction. Diversion is probably as old as the justice system itself. Police officers and court officials have always exercised their discretion to prevent the formal processing of offenders. During colonial times, a cobbler from Boston named John Augustus developed an idea to keep offenders out of ...