Cost-Benefit Analysis of Prosecutor Diversions

Making data-informed prosecution possible

Project Overview

This project is an opportunity to give prosecutors proven solutions to challenges that incarceration have been unable to address while improving legitimacy in the criminal justice system.

A multidisciplinary approach to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of multiple prosecutor offices.

Assist prosecutors ability to build capacity to make data-informed decisions, promote public health, public safety, and racial equity.

a close-up of several rolled up papers

I went against the grain, against the advice of people who I respect and love, and I took a chance. ”

-Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian
Middleton on Prosecutor Diversions

The Issue

Overreliance upon mechanisms of social control for historically underresourced communities has yielded racial and economic disparities, as well as poor health and safety outcomes, at an estimated $1.2 trillion dollar burden to individuals and the community at large. Improving access and coordinating interventions across health and justice systems will prevent threats to achieving equity, public safety, and wellbeing.

Prosecutor-led diversion toward health care is a key alternative to incarceration that can be pursued by disposing of a criminal charge. Diversion has many potential benefits, such as deflection from the criminal justice system for those who would be best served elsewhere, shrinking the criminal justice system, providing a quick resolution for victims, and establishing a connection to services for defendants. However, the most critical measures of success for prosecutor-led diversion efforts are not widely understood nor consistently tracked, and prosecutors are not well-resourced for this purpose.


people or 39% of the prison population are incarcerated for reasons primarily unrelated to public safety.

$43 Billion

spent by state legislators on prisons and jails.


of criminal cases are processed by local prosecutors.

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