Examining the Successes and Challenges of Louisiana’s Criminal Diversion Program
In this blog post we will discuss everything you need to know about Louisiana’s Criminal Diversion Program. Here, we will go over the successes and challenges and some important facts you may want to consider.
Lessons Learned for Future Criminal Justice Reforms
Diversion is defined as a substitute procedure in a criminal case where both parties agree on a deal that stops the prosecution from happening. This usually will result in a suspension of charges or the charges being dropped.
In most cases, the charge will be suspended and then dropped when the requirements of the diversion program are met. The prosecution and defense will determine what requirements need to be met in order to pass the program. The goal is to have the charges expunged after the program has been completed to its entirety to help people avoid a criminal record. This is especially true for first-time offenders who are facing misdemeanor charges.
The purpose of the Louisiana diversion program is the following:
- Help reduce the labeling of people and reduce the stigma surrounding the justice system.
- Opportunities are presented to you that would not be available with a criminal record.
- The cost is reduced to the system as well as to you. This is done by avoiding probation and incarceration.
- To help reduce the number of repeat offenders through rehabilitation services.
- Help lower the cases that the justice system has.
Pros And Cons Of Diversion Programs
Successes The Diversion Program Provides
Diversion programs have been more popular in recent years. Diversion programs are there to help rehabilitate people who have faced unforeseen circumstances. Often you will see those who have issues with substance abuse, or mental health issues, and those who have fallen victim to human trafficking participate in these programs.
The programs have a high success rate for integrating people back into society. Those who would have had criminal records often find successful jobs and have a positive lifestyle when participating in the diversion program. If they were to have not participated, they may be facing many more struggles that include homelessness, hunger, and more. This also could lead to another charge. The program has proven beneficial to those who are facing minor charges. It allows them to lead a normal life without the repercussions of having a criminal record. Plus, there are many opportunities that are presented when people participate in diversion programs.
The Challenges of Diversion Programs
Just as there are many successes, there are a few challenges that may be faced with the diversion program. Keep reading to learn more about some of the challenges that are faced.
Lack of Information
Many people do not know that the diversion program exists. Without an experienced defense attorney, the courts may not provide you with that option. If you do not have an experienced defense attorney, there is little chance that you will be referred or offered a diversion program.
Many offenders struggle to pay for the program. It will also be up to the DA to determine if you would qualify for the program. The office that would deny or allow you to enter the program may require that you do certain things to pass the program.
All these requirements and activities will add up quickly. However, they must be done in order to complete the program.
If you fail the program, you will go back to court and be formally charged. That is why you must meet all requirements and activities.
In some cases, there may be financial assistance available to those who cannot afford programs. However, many people are unaware of the financial assistance they may receive because they have not hired an experienced defense attorney.
Lack of Transparency
Louisiana has many diversion programs available, however, the public is not aware of them. The prosecutors decide who to allow in the program. There is no right to get into the program. Just because the defendant has a clean record does not mean they can get diversion.
Entering the Diversion Program In Louisiana
There are a few requirements that need to be met in order to be eligible for the diversion program. This often includes that you are not a repeat offender and you are only facing misdemeanor charges. Your charges also must not be aggressive in any nature.
With the help of an experienced defense attorney, you will be able to know what your options are. Your attorney will determine if you are eligible for the program.
Wrapping Up: Louisiana’s Criminal Diversion Program
Taking the time to know what is available to you and how to use it is essential. While the diversion program provides many positives, there are still a few challenges that the system sees with the program. The biggest thing is that not many people know about the program and if they do know about it, they do not know how to enter the program or what steps to take. That’s why it’s crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the ins and outs of the program and determine if it’s the best option for you.