The ‘Deflection’ Surge: Key to Reducing Re-Arrests
In this op-ed published in The Crime Report, Jac Charlier, national director for justice initiatives for the Center for Health and Justice makes the case for police deflection as a public health approach to better public safety.
Confronted with people clearly in need of treatment and social services, law enforcement officers need a way to respond, because they know they’ll see them again. Confronted with violations of the law, officers cannot simply ignore what’s happening.
But continually arresting individuals for low-level offenses only exacerbates problems. As officers have said for decades, “we cannot arrest our way out of social problems.”
What if officers had a third option?
Increasingly, in jurisdictions across the country, they do...Deflection is a term coined in 2014 to represent a broad range of alternatives that take place as part of law enforcement’s decision-making before an arrest is made. Existing deflection initiatives may include pre-arrest or pre-booking diversion, law enforcement diversion, and police-assisted diversion.
Deflection involves a different approach than prosecutorial or court-based diversion, where a person already faces criminal charges and is subsequently moved out of the system. It is defined as moving a person away from the justice system and toward community behavioral health and social services without ever being arrested and processed into the criminal justice system...[read more]