Serving jail time can be a life-altering experience. It can affect one’s mental health, social and family relationships, career and so many more aspects of life. Fortunately, there may be other options, one of which is a diversion program.

What are diversion programs?

A diversion program is an alternative to serving time in jail. It can even be a way to avoid the lengthy and taxing process of going to trial. It may also keep charges from appearing on your criminal record.

The types of diversion programs

Most commonly, offenders may be eligible for pre-trial diversion. This functions similarly to probation, limiting the activities that you can take part in and the people that you can interact with. It may involve rehabilitation, education, community service, counseling, mentoring, random urine tests, vehicle restrictions and paying restitution.

There are also possible jail diversion programs that occur once an individual is already in prison. This often means that offenders are transferred out of jail and into a mental health facility.

Who is eligible for diversion programs?

Not everyone is eligible for diversion programs and consideration will ultimately be under the judge’s ruling. First time offenders of minor crimes, like misdemeanors, are the most likely people to be eligible for a diversion program. Many who face minor drug charges or DUIs may be eligible.

Often juvenile offenders have the opportunity to participate in a diversion program. They often focus on rehabilitating the offender, educating them and dealing with underlying issues that led to the crime, like mental health issues.

Diversion programs can not only help alleviate the consequences of a crime, but they can also provide very necessary support. Ask your attorney if you are eligible for consideration for a diversion program.