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Diversion Programs

  • By: Roger H. Peters & Steven Belenk
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

The U.S. criminal justice system has expanded rapidly during the past several decades, due in large part to the arrest, incarceration, and supervision of drug-involved offenders. Since the 1980s, the size of jail and prison populations has more than doubled, resulting in over 2 million persons incarcerated and some 5 million others under criminal justice supervision in the community. Expansion of the criminal justice system has been accomplished at an enormous cost. For example, expenditures for state prisons increased 400 percent from 1987 to 2007 and have progressively siphoned money from education, healthcare, and other social services. It is estimated that the annual crime and criminal justice-related societal costs are more than $100 billion. As states and localities grapple with the challenge of funding basic ...

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