Diversion and Restorative Justice Program

 The District Attorney has discretion as to whether or not certain cases will be prosecuted.   In some circumstances, this discretion is utilized to take eligible juveniles (those under 17) out of the court system and placed into a diversion and restorative justice program of community service administered by the District Attorney´s Office.  In 2003 District Attorney Timothy Cruz implemented the Emerging Adult Diversion and Restorative Justice program.   This program is designed to respond to the widespread concern of underage alcohol abuse.   It is offered primarily to adult first time offenders ( ages 17-21 ) who have been arrested or summonsed into court for minor alcohol related offenses.

In exchange for not being prosecuted, and more involved in the Massachusetts legal system, the adult first time offenders or the juvenile and his/her parents or guardian must agree to perform community service and make full restitution to the parties injured as a result of the offenses committed.

 Emerging Adult Diversion and Restorative Justice Program

The offender must appear in court, yet is never formally arraigned before a judge or a clerk magistrate.

In Brockton District Court, the District Attorney has a forensic psychologist screen cases and speak with adults to assess any potential mental health or substance use disorders. This is done in order to address the root causes of conduct and decision making, by aligning the person with the appropriate available programs in the community.  In all courts, a person who is being diverted must accept responsibility and is accountable through a contract that may require drug or alcohol education, counseling, as well as community service.

When a victim has suffered property loss or damage, their consent is required, and restoration of their harm by restitution is sought.  Violent crimes are generally not diverted due to the nature of the harm to victims.  The District Attorney´s Office Diversion Officer monitors the contractual plan and reports the progress to the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case.

Successful completion of a typical 90-day obligation results in the entry of a nolle prosequi (dismissal by the prosecution) in the court case prior to any formal arraignment, thus saving the offender a criminal record and any further obligation to the court or to the Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office.  Failure to comply will result in the individual facing prosecution within the traditional trial process.

Juvenile Diversion and Restorative Justice Program

 The Juvenile Diversion Program at the District Attorney´s Office has been very successful in putting the lives of young men and women back on track, and allowing them alternatives to criminal records, probation and the possibility of incarceration.

The staff of the program works diligently with the court system to ensure the offender provides adequate service to the community, while at the same time, taking responsibility for the alleged crime he/she has committed.

To be eligible for the Juvenile Diversion Program, the juvenile must meet certain criteria of:

  • No prior criminal record
  • The crime must be a non-violent offense
  • The juvenile must assume full responsibility for his/her actions
  • The juvenile must have a positive attitude towards participation in the program
  • The juvenile must demonstrate a willingness to make a positive change in their life


The Diversion Program