States Taking the Lead on Pretrial Diversion


NCSL press release Denver—Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have statutes that allow for  pretrial diversion alternatives to traditional criminal justice proceedings for people charged with a crime, according to new information released by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Pretrial diversion is designed to address factors, called criminogenic needs, that contribute to criminal behavior of the accused.

Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have population-specific diversion programs that include:

  • Substance abuse: 39 states.
  • Mental illness: 24 states.
  • Veterans or active military: 24 states.
  • Domestic relations: 10 states.
  • Worthless checks: 15 states.

NCSL provides pretrial diversion material by topic and state in interactive maps. See the webpage.


NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.