According to Rule 11 of the Beijing Rules, Diversion is a discretional decision not to prosecute, often in exchange for a voluntary agreement by the offender to participate in a community-based programme to prevent reoffending.
Diversion is a procedure that may take place at arrest, intake, prosecutorial, or court level. It refers to the youth’s movement out of the system, avoiding further access into the juvenile justice system. It may or may not include referrals for treatment and it may or may not have requirements for treatment associated with the process. The majority of the states in USA pursue a policy that is geared towards ‘treating’ delinquency. Currently, judges in Alaska can choose from three alternatives regarding juvenile justice system. These are:
1. Supervisory provision;
2. Custodial probation; and
3. Institutional order.
The supervisory provision is that process where a juvenile is released to parents or guardian and supervised by a probation officer. Here legal custody remains with the parents. The alternative custodial probation is a process, where the juvenile is admitted to the Department of Health and Social Services. The juvenile here also be released to parents, but the department retains authority to place the juvenile in a more restrictive ‘non-detention’ setting such as a foster home or group home. Institutional order is places in a correctional facility on detention centre.
Diversion involves the recommendation of cases other than formal criminal court procedures and directing child offenders towards community support. It is “an attempt to divert, or channel out, youthful offenders from the juvenile justice system”. Diversion of child is therefore best viewed not as diversion from the juvenile justice system but rather as diversion to appropriate service where the formal intervention of the juvenile justice is not necessary or required. These requirements may include:
a) Education aimed at preventing future offenses by the offender;
b) Restitution to victims of the offense;
c) Completion of community service hours;
d) Avoiding situations for a specified period in the future that may lead to committing another such offense (such as contact with certain people);