Diversion and Problem-Solving Courts

What is a Diversion Program?

The Office of the State Attorney maintains diversionary programs designed to render speedy justice without involvement in the traditional court system for low-level offenders. These programs were initiated as a means of attending to minor criminal offenses.

These programs provide victims with a responsive forum to address a loss, to avoid arrest and prosecution of the defendant (in appropriate situations), and to bring the case to a conclusion as rapidly as possible in a more cost-effective manner.

Diversionary hearings are conducted by specially trained volunteers who serve as mediators or hearing officers. It is a highly technical and professional position with the volunteers administering work hours, restitution, and acting as a referral source in a quasi-judicial atmosphere.

Since their inception, these programs have resulted in thousands of hours of community service and millions paid in restitution.

Pre-trial Intervention Program (PTI)

Pre-trial Intervention Programs are primarily designed for first-time adult offenders who meet specific criteria. Participants sign a deferred prosecution agreement with specified requirements. Some of these requirements could be remaining crime free, completing community service hours, paying restitution, and/or participating in counseling. The offender’s progress is monitored throughout the duration of the program.

Upon successful completion of the program, charges are dismissed. Failure to complete the conditions required in the program contract results in prosecutorial review and appropriate legal action.

Restitution Enforcement Program (REP)

Since the abolishment of the Municipal Court system, city and state government agencies have had an increasingly difficult time dealing with municipal code violators. The Restitution Enforcement Program (REP) began as support for city and state agencies to alleviate the cumbersome court process. The most commonly handled municipal ordinance violations are health code violations.

The program also handles economic crimes such as public assistance fraud, unemployment compensation fraud, failure to remit sales tax fraud, and certain types of theft and forgery cases. Defendants sign a deferred prosecution agreement, agreeing to pay restitution. Prosecution is deferred until all conditions of the deferred prosecution agreement are met, with a maximum period of deferment of 36 months.

A program participant must fulfill all conditions of the deferred prosecution agreement to avoid prosecution. Failure to do so results in the case being referred to a prosecutor for review and possible prosecution.

Problem-Solving Courts

Drug Court

The Drug Court Program is designed for defendants who have been arrested for offenses involving the purchase of drugs, possession of drugs and non-violent felonies that have been deemed drug-related. To be accepted into this program, defendants must meet specific criteria and undergo an intensive interview and screening process.

The Drug Court Program offers offenders an additional opportunity to make changes in their lives and reduces incarceration levels. At a minimum, it is a 12-month program.

The Drug Court Program consists of an intensive, level-based treatment program with random drug testing, counseling, case management, and regular court appearances. Defendants who successfully complete the Drug Court Program through diversion are eligible to have their charges dismissed. Defendants who fail to satisfy program requirements face legal action through prosecutorial review.

For more information on Duval County Drug Court visit http://bit.ly/2ovOwrJ.

For more information on Clay County Drug Court, visit http://bit.ly/2oa1NDo.

Mental Health Court

Mental Health Court is a collaborative approach with community treatment providers to assist those with mental health issues in obtaining treatment services as a cost-effective alternative to incarceration.

The program links offenders with chronic and persistent mental illness or co-occuring disorders with community-based treatment for, at minimum, a 12-month period. 

Final determination of entry into the program is made by a judge with recommendations from the State Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Mental Health Court staff and treatment providers. 

Mental Health Court is an intensive level-based treatment program with random drug testing, case management, and regular court appearances. Clients are seen by their psychiatrist in the community or the assigned case manager assists them in obtaining a psychiatrist for updated psychiatric evaluation and medication management.

Once the defendant has successfully completed the program, charges are dismissed. However, if the defendant fails to satisfy the program requirements, they face legal action through prosecutorial review.

For more information on Duval County Mental Health Court, visit http://bit.ly/2ortCbv.

For more information on Nassau County Mental Health Court, visit http://bit.ly/2ovMh7s.

Veterans Court

Veterans Treatment Court is a nationally recognized program designed to provide essential substance abuse treatment services, mental health services, or both, to current and former military service members who have been arrested for a criminal offense  when there is a relationship between the offense or diagnosis and the veteran’s military service.

The court-supervised, comprehensive treatment program utilizes a collaborative approach includes drug and alcohol testing, regular court appearances, and educational opportunities intended to provide the participants with the skills necessary to maintain a clean and sober lifestyle and reconnect with their families and community.

By coordinating with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), Veterans Treatment Court provides eligible veterans the opportunity to receive specialized substance abuse and mental health treatment services, one-on-one veteran peer mentor support, and assistance in gaining access to veteran health care and benefits from the VA.

Services are provided through outpatient services. However, residential (in-patient) services also are available to those participants who need a higher level of treatment.

For more information on Duval County Veterans Treatment Court, visit http://bit.ly/2pyiSY8.

For more information on Clay County Veterans Treatment Court, visit http://bit.ly/2ors3tS.