DIVERSION PROGRAMS MAY HELP OFFENDERS WHO NEED A SECOND CHANCE
Oct. 29, 2019
No two circumstances are entirely the same, and for some Missouri offenders, participating in a diversion program may help make amends and avoid a harsh punishment. When prosecutors review a criminal case, some defendants who show a promise of reconstructing their lifestyle may benefit from a second chance.
Instead of going through with a jury trial and facing a conviction, an offender may apply to participate in a restorative justice or diversion program. If an individual successfully meets the requirements of the program, a prosecutor may drop the charges.
Completing the Program Helped Offenders
While not all offenders qualify for a diversion program, those who completed one have stated it helped with addiction and anger management issues. According to The Kansas City Star, the program provides an opportunity for individuals to take responsibility for their harmful actions and change their behavior. Not only are participants required to complete a drug or substance abuse treatment program, they must also face their victims and apologize for any harm they have caused. When an individual’s actions have caused injuries or damages, making payments or restitution may be a requirement.
Breaking the Feedback Loop of Mental Illness and Criminal Charges
Struggling with mental health and addiction issues may sometimes result in individuals taking steps they normally would avoid. A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed that individuals with mental illnesses and long-term substance use face a higher risk of engaging in criminal activities.
For some offenders, a diversion program is a more meaningful way to understand the consequences of their charges. Facing a jury may result in feelings of shame, which could potentially lead to repeated behavior.
Breaking the cycle of recidivism is a positive aspect of the restorative justice program. A deferred prosecution program gives an individual the opportunity to reflect and look within. Admitting guilt, sincerely apologizing and making reparations may help an offender to become a more productive member of the community.