The mission of Vermont County Court Diversion Programs is to engage community members in responding to the needs of crime victim victims, the community, and those who violated the law, holding the latter accountable in a manor that promotes responsible behavior.
Rutland County Court Diversion is a voluntary, confidential alternative to the formal court process through which people who have broken the law can make amends to all affected: the victim, the community, and themselves.
The states attorney decides which cases to refer to the program and the county’s Court Diversion Review Board decides which cases to accept. Individual applicants must first accept responsibility for violating the law. Successful participants do not have a criminal record.
Court Diversion Process:
- Initial meeting with staff person – intake and assessment
- Review Board Meeting – upon acceptance into the program, restorative contact is developed
- Completing the contract – with support from staff person
- After successful completion, the state’s attorney dismisses the case
- Two years later, court files are sealed
By completing the contract, the individual repairs the harm to the victim and community. Contracts are designed to be achievable and where appropriate address the underlying causes for the crime.
Typical contracts include the following:
- Pay restitution for property loss or damage
- Deliver personal or written apology to the person
- Perform volunteer services in the community
- Participate in a substance abuse assessment with a licensed counselor
- Explore educational opportunities
- Learn about a subject related to the crime or to a particular interest
- More than 95% of victims receive full restitution for their property loss or damage.
- Community members are involved in dealing with crime in their own community.
- People who violate the law are held accountable but are not burdened with a criminal record for the rest of their lives.
- The vast majority of court diversion participants do not re-offend.
- The traditional court and corrections systems are freed up to focus on more serious crimes
Court Diversion programs are run by local nonprofit agencies under the auspices of the Attorney General’s Office. State grant dollars, fees paid by clients, and local donations provide the revenue for the program.
If an individual does not complete the contract, the case is returned to the state’s attorney office for prosecution.