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Maricopa County Attorney’s Office focusing on diversion programs

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s office has launched a diversion program bureau aimed at curbing repeat offenders.

Montgomery told reporters the goal of the bureau is to offer offenders the ability to participate in five different diversion programs.

“We want to have a better way of ensuring that our provider partners are doing the best they can in order to keep people from coming back into the criminal justice system,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery added the programs can offer education, treatment, or both to help offenders focus on the issues that may have led them to commit crimes.

There’s also an additional set of juvenile diversion programs provided in conjunction with the juvenile probation department.

Montgomery said the ultimate goal is keeping people from continually breaking the law.

“Criminal justice resources are being spent going in the direction of reducing recidivism,” Montgomery said.

The County Attorney’s Office said offenders who go through diversion programs, and successfully complete the program, can have their charges dismissed or not filed at all.

Each case considered for the diversion program is reviewed by a prosecutor. The review includes identifying offenders who would benefit from a diversion program instead of facing a trial.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office offers diversion programs for: drug diversions, child abuse, excessive punishment diversion, felony pre-trial intervention, misdemeanor diversion, writing bad checks diversion and juvenile diversion.

According to the County Attorney’s Office, the new diversion program’s bureau will be able to assess program outcomes, engage in continuous program improvements and determine if there is a need for future diversion programs.

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