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“Pre-Arrest Diversion: The Night Prosecutor’s Program in Columbus, Ohio”

Palmer. John W., Dytan
June 4, 2015

Source: (1975) Crime & Delinquency. 21: 100-108.

Since 1972 the Columbus (Ohio) Night, Prosecutor’s Program,
recently designated as an “Exemplary Project” by LEAA, has diverted
thousands of criminal cases out of the formal criminal justice
Instead of application of the criminal justice system’s typical
“arrest-jail-court” procedure, criminal complaints involving interpersonal
disputes—family arguments, landlord-tenant disagreements,
neighborhood fights, and similar conduct of people who
must continue to maintain close personal contact with one another&
mdash;are diverted to a night prosecutor’s “office trial,” no later
than one week after the “crime.” The victim, the accused, friends,
neighbors, and other interested parties come together in a hearing,
presided over by a Capital University law student, under the supervision
of the city prosecutor. Hearings are held during the evenings
to avoid loss of wages for the participants.
The administrative hearings, based on the concept of victim confrontation,
serve to reopen the channels of communication between
the parties. Only about 2 per cent of the complaints referred
to the night prosecutor result ,in filing of ,formal criminal charges
and issuance of arrest warrants. Of greater significance, in less than
3 per cent of the cases heard by the night prosecutor does the complainant
return and make a new charge against the party to the
original dispute. Thus, the mediation and conciliation of interpersonal
misdemeanors has proven to be an effective alternative to
formal criminal process in such cases.


AbstractCourtsPost-Conflict ReconciliationProsecutorsRJ in SchoolsStatutes and LegislationVictim Support
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