sensible solutions

Diversion: one of the prosecutor’s most powerful tools

Diversion is one solution that prosecutors have to shape their communities for the better. Unfortunately, many choose not to use it.

Diversion promotes community safety by providing a chance to succeed for those who pose minimal risk to the community.

Although diversion is a proven tool to strengthen the criminal justice system in Kansas, it is severely underutilized by Kansas prosecutors.

Diversion programs grant individuals the opportunity to serve alternative sentences instead of being convicted of a crime or being sentenced to jail. Some alternatives include:

  • Kansans can enrich their communities by
    completing community service.
  • Kansans can pay their debt to society by
    paying restitution.
  • Kansans can improve their quality of life and avoid reoffending by
    undergoing treatment or therapy for mental or behavioral health issues.
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Benefits of Diversion

Diversion makes communities safer and stronger. It saves taxpayer dollars, reduces overcrowding in jails and prisons, and strengthens families.

For every person who receives diversion, taxpayers can save up to
per year.
35% of Kansans behind bars struggle with a mental health condition. Allowing these individuals to seek treatment
greatly reduces the likelihood that they will offend again.
If prosecutors embraced diversion more fully, the state could save nearly
$9 million
per year.

Diversion is severely underutilized in Kansas.

Despite the resounding evidence that diversion offers better outcomes for Kansas communities and families than prison, county prosecutors simply don’t utilize it. In fact, Kansas prosecutors use diversion at an average rate of 5%, which is only half the national average.

Transparency & Accountability Failures

State law gives prosecutors nearly unrestricted discretion in how they manage diversion in their respective counties. Kansas prosecutors drastically reduce the number of diversions that take place in Kansas by creating diversion policies that are confusing, expensive, and difficult to navigate.

  • Despite being required by Kansas law,
    only 85 of 105 judicial districts have a formal diversion policy.
  • In some counties, the cost of diverting
    a simple marijuana possession exceeds $5,000.
  • Out of 105 Kansas counties,
    95 counties keep no diversion application records at all.

Kansans overwhelmingly support increased use of diversion.

94% of Kansans support their prosecutor using diversion more often. Nationwide, 89% of voters think it is important that their prosecutor reduce mass incarceration by using alternatives to prison.
How does your county stack up?
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Over 90% of Kansans already believe that prosecutors should use diversion more often.

Unfortunately, many are not sure how to express their views. It’s up to you to reach out to your prosecutor – it’s time for you to Make The Case!
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