Knox County, Ill., (KWQC) – The first two years of the Knox County State’s Attorney’s diversion program show that most people who apply for diversion can successfully complete the program. The state attorney says there is only a 2.5% recidivism rate for successful participants.
The diversion program allows all qualified offenders to avoid criminal charges. Terms vary depending on the defendant and the crime. The State Prosecutor’s Office monitors participants for compliance.
Since its inception, 106 people have been removed from the Knox County criminal justice system. A large number of criminals have been arrested for serious crimes or thefts. 82 out of 106 criminals completed the program successfully. Successes have been sent back for accountability. Of the 82 successful participants, only two withdrew. By comparison, about 36% of those sentenced to felony or misdemeanor probation in Illinois reoffend within three years of the sentence, and 18% within one year.
In addition to increasing safety for the community, the program also saved money. From the start, the move reduced trial and court time for prosecutors and public defenders, allowing for more serious criminals and charges to be focused on.
According to the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council, the average cost associated with a repeat incident is $151,662. By reducing recidivism for these 82 participants from 36% to 2.5%, the diversion program has saved municipalities, counties and the state millions of dollars in recidivism costs over the past two years.
“These results prove that targeting the right people early in the criminal justice system not only prevents the negative consequences for an offender associated with criminal prosecution, but also makes our society safer by reducing recidivism. that Knox County has,” said Knox County District Attorney Jeremy Carlin.
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