Pre- and postcharge diversion programs have been used as a formal intervention strategy for youth offenders since the 1970s.
This meta-analysis was conducted to shed some light on whether diversion reduces recidivism at a greater rate than traditional justice system processing and to explore aspects of diversion programs associated with greater reductions in recidivism.
Forty-five diversion evaluation studies reporting on 73 programs were included in the meta-analysis.
The results indicated that diversion is more effective in reducing recidivism than conventional judicial interventions. Moderator analysis revealed that both study- and program-level variables influenced program effectiveness.
Of particular note was the relationship between program-level variables (e.g., referral level) and the risk level targeted by programs (e.g., low or medium/high). Further research is required implementing strong research designs and exploring the role of risk level on youth diversion effectiveness.
(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract).
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