Keeping people in jail is as costly in Maryland as it is in the rest of the country. This is a major investment of time, energy, and money that could very profitably be spent elsewhere. Many legal and corrections experts have suggested ways to resolve this issue. The new diversion program is one of these solutions.
Diversion programs can give people an exit ramp
One of the best new criminal defense strategies may be to offer someone an exit ramp out of the justice system. This is a boon for someone who may be a first-time offender, especially if they are charged with a nonviolent offense. Sending them to jail for years is not necessary.
Instead, the court may choose to offer this person the chance to participate in a specially sponsored diversion program. While the thought of such a program may ring alarm bells in a taxpayer’s mind, the truth is otherwise. In fact, the cost of these programs is much less than what it takes to keep someone in prison.
Diversion programs can address serious social issues
One of the reasons why many experts are praising the rise of diversion programs is due to their engagement with social issues on the ground. Many people turn to criminal behavior for reasons that are easily understood. Diversion programs can be used to help reach people who may have no other outlet to depend on. This intervention can prevent crime.
There are several types of programs that a person may enter in lieu of being subsumed into the criminal justice system. Pre-police encounter diversion programs are designed to send civilian responders to certain 911 calls. These are calls that are not judged to require the presence of police personnel.
Pre-arrest diversion programs can help people who need access to substance abuse or mental health treatment. It lets them get the help they need in a supportive and safe place. Programs such as these and others reduce the strain on the state taxpayer base. They offer ways to help people get help before they commit violent crimes.