Diversion

The criminal justice system has given the word Diversion an entirely new meaning. At some point in the last few decades, State and County legislators around the country came to appreciate that incarceration might not be the best solution for people who committed minor crimes because of their addiction to drugs or alcohol or because of their mental illness. They created ‘diversion programs’ as an alternative to better, more efficiently resolve the issue at hand. In the 1990s it began as a little used experiment in an effort to assist in prison over-crowding and to reduce jail costs. Eventually, with time, as judges became more confident that it was working, it grew to become a mainstay of the local criminal justice system, typically used automatically for low-level, first time offenders. The federal government has been a bit behind the curve on this issue, but recently passed a law seeking to apply those same constructs to the Federal criminal justice system, something we at Kipu feel is a positive step in the right direction.

Diversion Programs: A New Opportunity

This new initiative opens a whole new opportunity and makes us aware of an old one that many of us may not have known existed. While state and county programs might be limited in terms of what they can pay treatment facilities, they do provide a reliable, steady stream of patients in need, patients motivated by the reality that there’s no second chance.

Eventually, with time, as judges became more confident that it was working, it grew to become a mainstay of the local criminal justice system, typically used automatically for low-level, first time offenders. The federal government has been a bit behind the curve on this issue, but recently passed a law seeking to apply those same constructs to the Federal criminal justice system, something we at ReliaBill feel is a positive step in the right direction.

If they mess up again, the next step is prison. The Federal government historically has higher reimbursement rates than states when it comes to social programs and we have no reason to believe that this time will be any different. It also gives us a chance to get involved from the very start. Kipu will be actively involved in commenting on the process and recommends that you consider doing likewise. This seminal program provides a unique opportunity for the treatment community to help set the agenda for improving addiction treatment in a very constructive and concrete way.