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Audit of the Department’s Use of Pretrial Diversion and Diversion-Based Court Programs as Alternatives to Incarceration (2016)

"The Smart on Crime initiative, announced by the Department of Justice (Department) in August 2013, highlighted five principles to reform the federal criminal justice system by, among other things, ensuring just punishments for low level, non-violent offenders. Smart on Crime encouraged federal prosecutors in appropriate cases involving non-violent offenders to consider alternatives to incarceration such as pretrial diversion and diversion-based court programs where appropriate. Pretrial diversion and diversion-based court programs are alternatives to prosecution or incarceration that enable certain low-level and non-violent offenders to be diverted from traditional criminal justice proceedings, with the result being that the offender may receive no conviction or be sentenced to a lesser or no term of incarceration. Officials of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) told us that, while the Smart on Crime initiative contemplates greater use of diversion programs nationally, it does not mandate that each U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) increase the use of diversion regardless of other priorities or local circumstances."

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