Program Eligibility and Setting Eligibility Standards
Prosecutorial discretion can be utilized on a case-by-case basis to review a totality of the case facts to ensure the enrolled individual is an appropriate fit for diversion. Referral to diversion should occur as early as possible in the life of a case, with methods to track cases and swiftly return them to court if an issue or safety concern arises.
Additionally, ability-to-pay considerations can become barriers to enrollment and create unintended eligibility deterrents. In appropriate cases, restitution for damaged property or medical bills can be considered as conditions rather than eligibility requirements.
Eligibility standards for DV diversion programs
The following provide potential standards to determine eligibility of an enrolled individual.
- Level of injury caused by DV incident.
- Prescence of minor children during the DV incident.
- Involvement of gun, weapon, or strangulation.
- Lethality assessment. Lethality assessment tools can be utilized at different stages in diversion and can flag high-risk cases not suitable for diversion. Both police officers and prosecutors can develop separate lethality assessments that screen for factors specific to their respective roles in the criminal justice process (arrest versus prosecution).
- Criminal history of DV, felony, or violent felony cases.
- Existence of pending felony cases.
- Prescence of mental health or substance abuse concerns, while keeping in mind whether the needs of the enrolled individual exceed the capabilities of partner programs. Program planners may want to maintain a resource guide for additional treatment providers that can address particularized cases.
- History of reported or unreported DV incidents or victimization.
- History of protective orders against the accused.
- Prior referral to diversion.
- Victim input (see Early and Consistent Victim Contact and Empowerment)