Beth McCann

District Attorney

Second Judical District

201 W, Colfax Ave, Dept. 801
Denver, CO 80202


News Release

May 14, 2018 Contact: Ken Lane, 720-913-9025

DA McCann Launches Denver’s First Adult Diversion Program


May 14, 2018

Contact: Ken Lane, 720-913-9025





Denver District Attorney Beth McCann announced that her office today launched a pilot program for a pre-filing young adult diversion program.


Adult diversion, like juvenile diversion, is a voluntary alternative to criminal adjudication that allows a diversion-eligible person accused of a crime to fulfill a set of conditions, or complete a formal program designed to address, treat, or remedy issues related to or raised by the allegation against them. Diversion is a legally binding agreement between the diversion participant and the District Attorney’s Office.


In pre-trial diversion, upon successful completion of the conditions or program, the charges against the defendant are not filed and the participant is returned to the same legal status as if the offense had never occurred. Pre-file diversion differs from deferred prosecution/judgment in that charges are not filed, and the defendant has not pleaded guilty.


The primary goals of adult and juvenile diversion are to prevent further contact with the police and criminal justice system, address underlying issues that led to the offense, and provide a cost-saving alternative to traditional prosecution.


The Denver District Attorney’s Office has never had an adult diversion program, pre-file or otherwise.


“I am excited about our ability to launch this important new program in Denver. We have had a successful juvenile diversion program for several years with a track record of much lower recidivism rates—11% in 2017—than traditional criminal justice approaches,” DA McCann said.  “There is no good reason we shouldn’t expand this program to young adults.  A unique aspect of this pre-filing program is that a person will not incur a criminal record for the offense if he or she successfully completes the program, helping prevent young adults from being unable to obtain jobs or housing because of a criminal record,” McCann continued.


The Adult Diversion Program (ADP) is an extension of the Denver DA Juvenile Diversion Program. Over the course of the next several months, office prosecutors will review and select 50 criminal offenders between the ages of 18-26 as potential diversion applicants based on a list of eligibility criteria.  A preliminary review for diversion eligibility will take place at the city jail before first advisement.  These individuals will then be screened by the DA’s diversion office, with input from Denver police, to determine if they are appropriate for diversion – one of the most important criteria being whether they accept responsibility for the offense. Compliance with the agreement will be monitored by the DA’s diversion office.


If an individual is deemed not eligible for the program, re-offends, or is subsequently not successful in completing the diversion program, the charges will then be filed and the case prosecuted.


An F.A.Q. list is attached for reference.


Denver District Attorney’s Office Young Adult Diversion Program F.A.Q.s



Why is the D.A.’s Office doing this?

  • The offenders who will be served by Diversion are traditionally at a higher risk to re-offend without intervention and supervision services in place. Diversion is designed to interrupt a potential life of criminal activity by the offender to better serve public safety



What are the eligibility criteria?

The D.A.’s Office will consider felony offenders between the ages of 18 and 26 who:

  • Have committed a non-VRA (Victim Rights Amendment) crime,
  • Have not committed either a home burglary or POWPO offense,
  • Are not currently on probation supervision,
  • Do not have either a prior felony conviction or a prior class 1 misdemeanor conviction,
  • Are not currently wanted for another felony offense, AND
  • Take responsibility for their actions


How are potentially eligible offenders identified?

  • Offenders are identified after arrest and before the filing of charges
  • Potentially eligible offenders complete an intake with Diversion case managers
  • Suitable offenders are accepted into the Diversion program



What does it mean to be in Diversion?

  • Offenders in the Diversion program are closely monitored by case managers
  • Offenders sign an accountability contract, which sets out each offender’s requirements based upon the offender’s risks and needs
  • All offenders are required to remain crime free, pay restitution, refrain from drug use and complete community service
  • Offenders may be required to attend substance abuse and/or mental health treatment, employment classes, educational classes, cognitive therapy and any other activity designed to support an offender’s crime-free life


What happens if an offender fails Diversion?

  • Offenders who re-offend or fail to meet the requirements of their accountability contract are re-arrested, charged and prosecuted for their original crime