Data Analysis Diversion July 27, 2021

Race and Prosecutorial Diversion, What We Know and What Can Be Done

Florida International University

Diversion is increasingly used by prosecutors in the United States. As an alternative to formal prosecution, diversion programs provide opportunities to avoid conviction, address substance use and mental health needs, and maintain employment and community ties. However, the diversion process can be a source of racial and ethnic disparities. Who gets diverted and who completes diversion successfully has a lot to do with income. Irrespective of skin color, poor individuals are disadvantaged for a variety of reasons, ranging from the quality of legal advice to hefty fees. While we acknowledge that diversion differences can stem from socioeconomic factors, this report focuses specifically on how race and ethnicity influence diversion decisions.