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Thursday, February 25, 2016
DuPage County Pre-Trial Diversion Program Boasts 97% Success Rate
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced today that a review of the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office’s Pre-Trial Diversion Program revealed a 97.1% success rate. The review defines success as participants who satisfactorily completed the Program itself and did not receive another misdemeanor or felony conviction within one year of completion of the Program.
In August, 2012, the State’s Attorney’s Office unveiled the new program as an opportunity for first-time, non-violent offenders to keep a felony conviction from being permanently entered on their record. To be considered for the Program, participants must undergo a thorough qualification process. Once qualified, the participant is required to plead guilty to the alleged offense. Upon successful completion of the Program, the State’s Attorney’s Office will then move to vacate the guilty plea and dismiss the pending charges against the defendant. If however, a participant fails to successfully complete the Program, the State’s Attorney’s Office will move to terminate the defendant from the Program. If a judge orders the defendant be terminated from the Program, the case will be returned to the court for a sentencing hearing on the charges.
“A 2015 study by the U.S. Department of Justice shows that nationally, sixty eight percent of offenders successfully complete probation,” Berlin said. “When compared to that number, our ninety seven percent success rate is phenomenal. What is even more encouraging is that our ninety seven percent rate represents offenders who have not only successfully completed the Program but have also stayed out of trouble for one year after completion. To put it another way, less than three percent of the participants in our Pre-Trial Diversion Program have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony after completing the Program. Additionally, the Program allows my office to concentrate our resources and efforts to go after violent, repeat offender and career criminals.”
The State’s Attorney’s Office receives approximately 60 applications for admittance to the Program each year. Currently there are 37 active participants in the Program. The findings unveiled by State’s Attorney Berlin are based upon thirty five participants who have successfully completed the Program, thirty four of whom have not received another misdemeanor or felony conviction within one year of completion of the Program.
“These numbers reinforce what we have known all along – diversion programs work. They are good for the community and they are good for the participants. If ever there was a win, win situation, this is it,” Berlin concluded.