Misdemeanor Diversion Program History and Metrics

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Durham County’s Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP) was created in 2014 in response to concerns about 16- and 17- year-olds having a misdemeanor arrest on their permanent criminal record.  Until December 1, 2019 youth aged 16 and 17 could be charged as adults in North Carolina.

Adolescents referred to the diversion program were required to participate in community service projects that ranged from 30 to 90 days in lieu of other punishment. At the time of its inception, participants were also required to attend a mock trial that illustrated the negative consequences associated with a permanent arrest record.  These consequences may include loss of a driver’s license, fines, denial of housing, denial of financial aid/college admission and ineligibility for licensure in several fields.

MDP has expanded twice: in October 2015 to include 18- to 21- year olds, and again in March 2019 to age 26, with the option of referring individuals over age 26 at law enforcement's discretion. With North Carolina’s “Raise the Age” legislation now in effect (16 and 17-year-olds no longer charged as adults), and age expansion, MDP is evolving to serve those of any age with a qualifying first-time arrest.

  MDP Stats

Stakeholders who collaborated to create the MDP included: Representative Marcia Morey, Gudrun Parmer of Criminal Justice Resource Center, District Attorney’s Office, Office of the Public Defender, Durham Courts, Durham Police Department, Office of the Sheriff, County Commissioners, City Council, Mayor, City and County Managers, Durham Public Schools-Board of Education and a few community partners.  Kelly Andrews was hired as the MDP Coordinator and is placed administratively at the CJRC.

MDP was initially funded by the Durham County and a grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission.  All funding for Diversion is currently provided by Durham County and generous collaborations and/or donations from our community partners.