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Common Requirements for Diversionary Programs

Interviewer: Let’s talk about some of the requirements of these programs. What are the most common requirements people have to go through? Are drug and alcohol screenings very common? What are a few factors that are involved with that?

Lauren Scardella: Drug and alcohol screenings are definitely a common requirement. Also, substance abuse evaluation – so not just a urine screening to see whether or not somebody is using drugs, but rather an evaluation done by a counselor or a psychiatrist or a psychologist who determines whether the person has a problem with substance abuse. Related to that would be a psychiatric or mental health evaluation, so on certain types of offenses that might be ordered, such as for sex offenses or domestic violence offenses. Anger management is often ordered as well.

Interviewer: What’s involved in that? Is that a series of classes?

Lauren Scardella: It’s a series of classes or meetings with a counselor.

Interviewer: Are there any differences between having these conditions imposed in Superior Court or municipal court?

Lauren Scardella: The difference between having these conditions imposed in Superior Court or in municipal court is that in Superior Court it’s basically all arranged by the probation department for the person, whereas in municipal court they have to make the arrangements themselves for these evaluations and turn them over to the courts themselves. It’s a lot less formal in municipal court, in that sense.

Interviewer: Are there any other commonly imposed conditions?

Lauren Scardella: Other conditions might be community service, which usually can be performed generally at any sort of community organization, or you could rake leaves for an elderly person or you could have the probation office set you up with something, but that’s usually not as satisfying as finding something for yourself, because then you’re at the mercy of the probation department who might put you on a road cleanup crew.

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