The Denver Diversion Program is an alternative to the traditional court process for eligible first-time adult and juvenile offenders. The primary goal is to prevent further contact with the police and criminal justice system by providing a variety of services to meet individual, family, and community needs.
Diversion programs focus on teaching skills and providing opportunities to practice those skills. Clients are assigned to programs based on their needs. The length of time in Diversion varies depending upon the individual needs of the client, but a participant must perform a minimum of 30 hours of community service and complete restitution.
Sampling of Diversion Programs:
These are group settings in which clients learn such things as life skills, problem-solving, conflict resolution, critical thinking, and reasoning skills. Groups are based on gender and age.
This includes Educational Enhancement and Substance Abuse Screening and Treatment. Juvenile clients in the Educational Enhancement program receive visits at school by staff members and get regular feedback about attendance, behavior, and performance. They may also be involved in a tutoring program that provides homework help and topic-specific instruction. A full-service computer lab including Microsoft Word and the Internet is available, along with English as a second language. Substance Abuse Screening is conducted on all clients. Referrals are made to the TASC program for those clients with substance abuse issues.
Clients may take part in family therapy, which includes family sessions as well as individual counseling sessions. Families can be referred to Multisystemic or Functional Family Therapy, two evidence-based programs that pave the way for motivating clients and their families to become more adaptive and successful in their own lives.
Adults and juveniles who commit a misdemeanor or felony property offense, and meet the following criteria may be offered Diversion services instead of formal court proceedings. Diversion does not discriminate due to ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status.
Frequently Asked Questions
Restorative Justice (RJ)
Restorative Denver is a partnership between the Denver District Attorney’s Office and The Conflict Center, a community-based nonprofit organization. Cases are screened for this program and, if appropriate, referred to The Conflict Center to be handled through this community-based, restorative justice process. To be eligible for Restorative Denver, defendants must be willing to take accountability for their actions and agree to work on repairing the harm they caused, and the victims must be open to having their cases handled through restorative justice. If the defendant successfully completes the restorative justice process, the case will be dismissed.
Benefits of Restorative Justice
- Victims have the opportunity to talk to the person who harmed them and get their questions answered.
- Victims can tell the person who harmed them how they would like the harm repaired.
- After the RJ process, victims receive a sense of closure, peace, and validation about what they experienced that the traditional criminal system does not provide.
- After the RJ process, defendants often experience greater awareness and empathy for how their actions impacted the victim and the community.
- RJ has a much lower rate of recidivism than cases prosecuted in the traditional system, which means a safer community for everyone.
In general, clients who have committed a Felony 3, 4, 5 or Felony 6 property offense and/or a Misdemeanor 1, 2 or 3 are eligible for Diversion. At the discretion of the District Attorney’s Office clients who have committed a misdemeanor resulting in an assault charge against their parents and/or siblings may be allowed to participate in the program. These clients and their parents/guardians must agree to participate in family counseling as well as other Diversion programs.
If a child is not involved in the Juvenile Justice System and a parent or guardian is concerned about his/her behavior, feel free to contact the Denver Juvenile Services Center at 720-913-8980, or click here for a free and confidential consultation.