Social Justice Stories:Analyzing the Effects of Criminal Diversion Programs on Young Adults with Mental Health Issues
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The mental health diversion program in the Four Counties region services many individuals, some of which are young adults between the ages of 18-25. The HSJCC has expressed a desire to study the impact the program has on young adults with mental health issues as well as the community. Aspects of the program were examined such as: the options and costs associated with the program, services utilized by the clients during and after diversion, recidivism, factors that contribute to the crime and court decision, the success rate of the program, and the pressures it places on the court and correction systems. It was determined that the cost of diversion is much lower than incarceration, which in turn contributes positively to the community. Although recidivism rates and an evaluation of services used after diversion is complete were not established, the success rate of the program has shown to be quite high for these young adults. Upon completion of the study, two of the most prominent recommendations made to improve the program were: to implement a follow-up procedure to collect further data on the recidivism rates and services used by clients after their diversion and to introduce pre-charge diversion throughout the Four Counties. Overall, this mental health diversion program has shown to be efficient and beneficial to the client and the community.