Until recently, Kane County’s pre-trail diversion program was only assumed to be a success based on the participant’s opinions and stories. In partnership with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and Aurora University, the Kane County State’s attorney has finally complied statistics proving the program’s success.
In order to enter a diversion program, the offender must admit responsibility and then successfully complete a list of requirements. If the offender fully complies then the charge is fully dismissed.
Although Kane County offers five different diversion programs, the study was limited to the recidivism rate for offenders who participated in the diversion program for nonviolent first-time offenders. Nonviolent crimes include such crimes as burglary, criminal damage to property, and retail theft.
The two-year study took a random sample of 317 felony cases selected from 1,050 who participated in the program from 2005 to 2010. The study found that 92% of those who successfully completed the program did not have any convictions in the three years following, misdemeanor or felony. As a comparison, violators who are sentenced traditionally have shown a recidivism rate between 40 and 60 percent.
A diversion program, by avoiding a conviction on their record, allows offenders to rehabilitate and become productive members of society. Without a conviction they are not hindered from getting jobs, renting property, or buying homes. It is hoped that the results of the study will lead to more conversations about diversion programs and their benefits and therefore more funds for these programs.