Diversion Court: Judging Without Jail

Written by on April 1, 2016

On a recent episode of The MOJO, host Stef Renee interviewed the Honorable Desiree Charbonnet, an Administrative Judge the New Orleans municipal court system, about Diversion Court — an approach to criminal justice that avoids incarcerating people charged with nonviolent offenses.

The concept behind Diversion Court is simple; many studies have shown that when it comes to nonviolent misdemeanors, incarceration has not contributed to public safety. Jail time, which has been the typical prescription, has failed to deter certain crimes rooted in social issues like addiction, poverty and mental illness. In response to this research, Diversion Court “diverts defendants who meet specific eligibility requirements away from the criminal justice system and toward supportive services to help curb the underlying problems or behaviors.” In the end, defendants may even have the charges against them dismissed.

Stef Renee’s interview with Judge Charbonnet is below, and Judging Without Jail, an article by Eve Troeh that talks in more detail about Diversion Court in New Orleans, can be found here.

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