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A Multisite Evaluation of Prosecutor-Led Pretrial Diversion: Effects on Conviction, Incarceration, and Recidivism

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 32 Issue: 8 Dated: 2021 Pages: 890-909
Date Published
20 pages

This paper updates the research on prosecutor-led pretrial diversion programs through the discussion of four programs in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Vermont.


Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in prosecutor-led pretrial diversion programs, yet up-to-date research on the effectiveness of these programs is lacking. Participants in four prosecutor-led diversion programs, Cook County, IL (separate analyses for misdemeanor and felony participants), Milwaukee County, WI (two distinct programs varying in participant risk level and treatment intensity), and Chittenden County, VT, were propensity-score matched to comparison defendants (total n = 5,040). All programs yielded a significant decrease in instant case conviction and use of jail sentences. There was also a trend toward reduced re-arrest at two years. Three of four diversion programs significantly delayed the onset of first re-arrest. Taken together, results support the effectiveness of a diverse set of prosecutor-led pretrial diversion programs that varied in charge severity, participant risk level, and program duration and intensity. Publisher Abstract Provided


Date Published: January 1, 2021