WASHINGTON (March 30, 2022) — A new report by R Street Institute resident senior fellow Lisel Petis explores the successful implementation of pre-arrest diversion programs in conservative communities. These programs seek to divert low-level offenders from arrest to preserve police time, court resources and jail space for those who pose a more significant public safety threat. Law enforcement agencies across the country are currently facing a myriad of pressing challenges, including staffing shortages, negative public perception, overpopulation of jails, an increase in violent crime and court backlogs.

Pre-arrest diversion programs are one way of better supporting law enforcement. A number of conservative jurisdictions that adopted pre-arrest diversion have effectively diverted low-level offenders and become an important positive trend in criminal justice. Petis presents case studies from three conservative jurisdictions to show how they have successfully implemented diversion programs and navigated the challenges of launching them.

“Not only can smart criminal justice reform efforts and research-backed diversion programs . . . balance individual rights and public safety, but they also do a better job than our current system in upholding each,” said Petis.

Petis’s detailed analysis showcases how pre-arrest diversion programs prioritize police time and resources, which enables law enforcement to deal with serious crimes while simultaneously rebuilding their relationship with the community and reducing recidivism rates.

Read the full study here.

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