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A National Survey of Criminal Justice Diversion Programs and Initiatives

Across the United States, criminal justice systems are managing record numbers of people with rates of substance use and mental health disorders that are exponentially higher than those of the general public. In recent years, a confluence of factors has created fertile ground for broad-based improvements to criminal justice policy and practice, including overburdened courts, crowded jails and prisons, strained government budgets, advances in the science of drug use intervention and recovery, shifting public sentiment about drug policy, awareness of the negative and residual impacts of justice involvement on families and communities, and a preponderance of research on the effectiveness and cost efficiency of alternatives to incarceration.