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Authors

Sarah J. Long

Abstract

Pretrial diversion removes offenders with a low-risk of reoffending from the penal system and instead sends them to supervised treatment programs. The result is lower cost to the state and a second chance for those who successfully complete the program. Typically, violent crimes, such as murder and attempted murder, are exempt from pretrial diversion. Notably, sex related crimes are also ineligible in all jurisdictions. By excluding all sex-related crimes from pretrial diversion, possession of child pornography is adjudicated by the courts. As a result, young, first-time offenders who may be candidates for treatment are bundled with physical offenders, members of child pornography “circles”, and rapist, charged as felons, and faced with fifteen years as a registered sex offender. While this may make the public feel safe, it eliminates an option for those who could truly benefit from pretrial diversion. By offering pretrial diversion for “simple” possession of child pornography, offenders who are unlikely to reoffend or to escalate their actions will receive necessary treatment, making it more likely that they move forward and become productive law abiding citizens.

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