For a visual description of Court Diversion programs, watch this video.
Panels are a restorative alternative for individuals charged with a crime (the responsible party). They are made up of teams of 3-5 trained volunteers who meet with responsible and impacted parties, to address the harm caused by “low-level” crimes (such as disorderly conduct, forgery, fraud, retail theft and unlawful mischief). The panel's mission is to hold the responsible party accountable for the effects of their actions on others.
Our victim liaison makes every attempt to contact the impacted parties to explain our process and support his/her/their participation to whatever extent they are comfortable. The panel discusses the circumstances and impact of the crime and ways the responsible party can avoid making similar mistakes in the future.
For certain crimes, law enforcement has discretion in directly referring cases to the CJC. In other cases, the state’s attorney decides whether to refer the person out of the court system to the Court Diversion program. Judges can also refer cases as part of a sentencing order where the responsible party is jointly supervised by the Department of Corrections and the Reparative Service Unit. Once they successfully complete the Court Diversion program, the participant’s record can be expunged (in the case of Diversion). While contracts are individualized to each participant and their specific needs, some contracts may include restitution, apology letters, reflective essays, or referrals to other community support agencies.
If you have participated in the Court Diversion program as a Responsible or Affected Party, we want to hear from you! Please fill out this anonymous survey to share your experience: