U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD): Pretrial Diversion in Pennsylvania

NCJ Number
Date Published
5 pages
This study examines the Pennsylvania courts' use of the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), a pretrial diversion program primarily for nonviolent offenders, and the program's effectiveness.
ARD places approved criminal defendants under supervision or in a treatment program without a formal determination of guilt. To be placed on ARD, the prosecutor must recommend it, any victims must be notified, the judge must approve, and the defendant must agree to all the conditions of supervision or treatment. Defendants who complete the program generally have their criminal records expunged. Failure to complete the program results in prosecution and more severe sanctions upon conviction. In 1984, 94 percent of ARD participants were charged with nonviolent offenses. The rate of ARD use by the courts varies from county to county, with the majority of counties using ARD in 10-24 percent of the disposed cases. ARD is heavily used for drunk drivers, who account for over 11 percent of all criminal dispositions and 57 percent of ARD dispositions. Nearly 60 percent of ARD participants are under 30 years old, and approximately two-thirds are white males. ARD has reduced court workloads, as ARD cases average 4.9 months from arrest to disposition compared to 6.0 and 9.9 months for guilty pleas and trials respectively. ARD cases account for 30 percent of probation caseloads, and 95 percent of participants complete the program. 8 figures.