Pre-Arrest Diversion or Deflection

Criminal justice diversion refers to the broad category of justice models that divert people away from further prosecution, jail, or sentencing, and into services in the community.

At the very front end of the criminal justice system, the decision of whether to arrest a person is made by law enforcement.

"Deflection" is a term used to describe police diversion programs that happen pre-booking or pre-arrest. These initiatives deflect individuals out of the system before even entering it.

Depending on local community needs and behavioral health capacity, police deflection programs across the country have varying designs, but their goals are consistent: to continue to promote and enhance public safety while also responding more effectively to substance use and mental health problems, and to low-level offenses. These solutions help reverse the tide of people with nonviolent offenses entering the justice system.

The Center for Health and Justice works in partnership with law enforcement and community entities to design and develop police deflection programs, which promote and enhance public safety while also responding more effectively to substance use and mental health problems.

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