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Jail Diversion Models: Part II—Implementation Challenges and Best Practices

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2022
4 pages

This article seeks to fill an information and guidance gap for jail diversion program, regardless of exit point, by illustrating common challenges and best practices that can guide organizations in tailoring their own programs to best suit their needs.


This article is the second in a two-part series on jail diversion programs for adults with serious mental illness (SMI), SUD, or co-occurring disorders (CODs) from the criminal justice system, into appropriate community services. This companion article focuses on core aspects underlying implementation of most jail diversion programs, regardless of exit point, and illustrates common challenges and best practices that can guide Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) grantees in the specific tailoring of their own jail diversion programs. It notes that variability in program models can be a barrier to early adoption and implementation due to the lack of guidance, and to address that lack of available guidance, the article highlights three core aspects of jail diversion programs: collaboration; identification; and diversion. The article concludes that addressing those three elements at the outset with dedicated staff, appropriate training, and continued monitoring of implementation is key to a program’s success.