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Deferred Prosecution Programs: An Implementation Guide

The increase of prosecutorial diversion efforts is an exciting development in the smart decarceration movement, which seeks to reduce incarceration rates in ways that are effective, sustainable, and socially just. Prosecutors possess enormous influence over the course of a criminal proceeding, as they alone decide whether to bring charges against an individual and specify how many and what type of charges are pursued. Additionally, as prosecutors participate in plea‐negotiations, bail hearings, and provide sentencing recommendations to judges and juries, they are perfectly positioned to accelerate smart decarceration strategies by advocating for diversion programs designed to shift some individuals away from the criminal justice system, connect those individuals with community resources to better meet identified needs, and foster public safety by promoting overall well‐being of individuals and communities. This implementation guide was developed specifically for prosecutors and provides step‐by‐step guidance on how to design, implement, manage, and evaluate a sustainable and evidence‐driven deferred prosecution program.

Project: Decarceration


Pettus-Davis, C., Epperson, M., Grier, A., Kraatz, M., Sawh, L., & Kennedy, S. (2018, October). Deferred prosecution programs: An implementation guide. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University College of Social Work, Institute for Justice Research and Development, Washington University Center for Social Development, and University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.