Alternatives to Arrest
Programs offering alternatives to arrest have the potential to positively alter the outcomes for individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice system. By providing alternatives to arrest through formalized programs, law enforcement agencies, in partnership with other community stakeholders, have the ability to decrease crime and recidivism by resolving underlying problems, thereby saving taxpayer funds, reducing repeat calls for service, improving individual health and quality of life outcomes, and enhancing community relationships and safety.
Types of arrest alternative programs include those focused on deflection, where preventative services are offered for individuals thought to be at elevated risk of criminal justice system involvement, and pre-arrest diversion, where charges are held in abeyance or suspended without any prosecutorial or judicial involvement and subsequently not pursued once a prescribed treatment or program has been entered, started, or completed. The terms deflection and diversion are used interchangeably in this document and are collectively referred to as alternatives to arrest.