Phoenix leaders want more data on domestic violence diversion court

Published: Friday, November 11, 2022 - 8:32am
Updated: Friday, November 11, 2022 - 8:33am

The Phoenix City Prosecutor’s Office boasts a 95% success rate for its domestic violence diversion program, but some leaders want to see more numbers.

When someone is charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, the city prosecutor can offer a diversion program to a qualified defendant as part of a plea agreeement. In exchange for completing 26 or 52 counseling sessions, the charge is dropped. 

The diversion unit administrator recently told the public safety subcommittee that 523 out of 551 defendants completed the program in fiscal year 2020-21, resulting in a 95% success rate. 

Councilman Jim Waring expressed concern about recidivism. “I would at least like to know how many repeat offenders do we have coming out of the diversion program. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.”

Councilwoman Ann O’Brien, who chairs the subcommittee, said, “It’s not really success that they just completed. Success is we didn’t have them come back through our system in the next three to five years, in my opinion.”

The city prosecutor’s office will add recidivism as a metric in a planned study of the program, which began in 1986. Studies are also planned for other diversion programs. SAGE and Catholic Charities provide counseling through contracts with the city.

Diversion programs offered by Phoenix 

Domestic Violence Diversion Program: Purpose is to provide a counseling/education program to participants to stop the cycle of violence by focusing on the participant’s accountability and compliance with program guidelines. 

Positive Alternative Diversion Program Anger Management: Purpose is to provide anger management counseling to stop the assaultive and threatening behavior to participants in non-domestic violence cases. 

Cognitive Skills Diversion Program: Provides counseling through cognitive behavioral therapy and opportunities to explore thinking patterns to help participants make better decisions 

Shoplifting/Theft Diversion Program: Assists participants in identifying stressful and problem areas in their lives by providing educational tools for making positive changes 

Underage Drinking and Alcohol Possession Program: Primarily educational or provides treatment based on participant assessment conducted by provider. 

Prostitution Solicitation Diversion Program: Purpose is to stop behavior of soliciting/hiring another person to commit acts of prostitution; educational and focuses on individuals charged with soliciting prostitution. 

Prostitution Diversion Program: Provides and monitors rehabilitation services that focus on support, education, and treatment for the participants to end the lifestyle of prostitution.

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