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An alternative available to prosecutors in the processing of a criminal complaint is that of diversion, the channeling of criminal defendants and even potential defendants, into programs that may not involve incarceration.
The prosecutor is an integral part of any diversion system; indeed, he/she should be the central figure in such a system. The prosecutor commonly makes the decision to introduce an offender into alternative treatment and is
ultimately responsible for determining the success of that alternative treatment.
The authority of the prosecutor to control the diversion decision is well substantiated.
The purposes of diversion programs include:
Multiple factors may legitimately be considered by the prosecutor in making the diversion decision, including the willingness of a defendant to waive potential civil claims against law enforcement personnel. Basically, these factors concern the character of the defendant, the type of offense, the availability of suitable treatment or educational facilities, and the particular relation of the case to other criminal justice goals. Determination of the appropriateness of diversion in a specified case will involve a subjective determination that, after consideration of all circumstances, the offender and the community will both benefit more by diversion than by prosecution.
Adult Diversion Information -
Olmsted County Diversion Program (99 Kb)
Request for Diversion - Adult (93 Kb)
Felony Rule 15 - Diversion (29 Kb)
When a juvenile commits an offense within the county, the Juvenile Division will consider whether or not to send the juvenile through the diversion program based on specific criteria established by the Olmsted County Attorney. Diversion offers juveniles, who admit they broke the law, an opportunity to avoid a juvenile court record. They sign a contract to complete certain requirements that address their unlawfully behavior, including community work service, restitution to the victim, programs on theft awareness, peaceful alternatives to conflict or other appropriate programs. If the juvenile successfully completes the diversion contract, their case will not be sent to court. The community benefits from diversion programs as the juvenile typically has a swift consequence as compared to cases that go through juvenile court. Juveniles who participate in diversion have a low recidivism rate.