The mission of Vermont court diversion programs is to engage community members in responding to the needs of crime victims, the community, and those who violated the law, holding the latter accountable in a manner that promotes responsible behavior.
Court Diversion is a restorative alternative for individuals charged with a crime. After police issue a citation for violating the law, the state’s attorney decides whether to refer the person out of the court system to the community-based Court Diversion program.
A person referred to Diversion
- chooses whether to participate or not – participation is voluntary,
- admits responsibility for his/her actions,
- meets with a board of community volunteers and completes a contract designed to repair the harm done to the victim and the larger community, and address underlying factors in the individual’s life that contributed to the crime,
- pays a fee, and
- avoids a permanent criminal record if s/he completes the program successfully.
Other key aspects of Diversion:
- Victims’ views are heard and reflected in the contract developed by the Review Board and participant
- Case managers support participants through the process to successful completion
If an individual does not complete the contract, the case is returned to the state’s attorney for prosecution.