The ACLU of Kansas contacted all 105 counties in the state to request information about their diversion programs. The table below estimates the impact that greater use of diversion could have on taxpayer expenditures on prisons. Calculations are based on the county reaching the national felony diversion rate (9%) and on the annualized marginal cost of sending one additional person to prison in Kansas.Read more about the data
For purposes of estimation, this table assumes that each new felony diversion granted would result in one less person being sentenced to prison. In some cases, felony convictions would result in probation rather than a prison sentence. Data limitations prevent us from projecting the number of diversions that would result in probation avoidance, rather than reductions in the prison population. Some counties show diversion rates of less than 9%, but no potential reduction in the prison population or in annual cost savings if they were to increase their diversion rate. These are counties where the number of felony dispositions is so small that increasing to a 9% diversion rate would result in less than one person being diverted. There are no calculations made for counties already at or above the national average because they are not creating unnecessary burdens for communities and taxpayers.
The diversion rate is the percentage of felony cases in your county that your prosecutor chooses to divert. The national average is 9%. The average in Kansas is 5%.
If prosecutors were to utilize diversion at the average rate of 9%, they could save the state millions in taxpayer spending. Here’s what your county could save by by utilizing diversion at the national average.