A comparison of prebooking and postbooking diversion programs for mentally ill substance-using individuals with justice involvement
Eight programs are described representing a variety of approaches to diversion in terms of point of criminal justice intervention (prebooking or postbooking), degree of criminal justice coercion, type of linkages provided to community-based treatment, and approaches to treatment retention. The authors also describe the characteristics of almost 1000 study participants who were diverted into these programs over an 18-month period and examine the extent to which systematic differences are observed between prebooking and postbooking subjects, as well as among sites in each of the diversion types. Results suggest that prebooking and postbooking diversion subjects were similar on most mental health indicators, but differed substantially on measures of social functioning and substance use and criminality, with postbooking subjects scoring worse on social functioning and reporting more serious substance use and criminal histories. Variability among sites was also observed, indicating differences in local preferences for the types of individuals deemed appropriate for diversion.