The Smart Decarceration Project Prosecutor-Led Gun Diversion Programs: Implementation Guide is Available

News Type
Crown Family School News

The Smart Decarceration Project (SDP) at the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice is bridging research and practice to reduce the country’s over reliance on incarceration while addressing the racial and behavioral health disparities in the criminal legal system. Generating real-world evidence in close collaboration with local and national stakeholders, SDP seeks to reduce the use of incarceration by developing interventions that deliver tangible impact, informing
the next generation of criminal legal policies and programs, and spearheading a cross-sector movement sustained by transdisciplinary dialogue

As part of an ongoing research project studying the development and implementation of Prosecutor-Led Gun Diversion Programs (PLGDPs), The Smart
Decarceration Project, led by Associate Professor Matt Epperson and The Joyce Foundation, has produced a new Implementation Guide.

In the last five years, the interest and occurrence of prosecutor-led gun diversion programs (PLGDPs) has grown. At the same time, the landscape of PLGDPs has been complicated by the rise in gun violence driven, in part, by the negative economic, emotional, and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, some prosecutors’
offices are motivated to launch PLGDPs in the hopes to contribute to efforts to curtail current rates of gun violence. 

This implementation guide is designed for prosecutors’ offices considering launching a PLGDP, as well as their community partners and stakeholders that have a role in program implementation. We envision this document as a conversation starter and reference document for program actors, outlining: key considerations when launching a program; questions and program elements to consider during planning and implementation; and a framework for understanding program success and evaluation. This guide is rooted in our qualitative research and interviews with existing PLGDPs, our consultation with prosecutors’ offices looking to launch a program, and our research of prosecutor-led diversion programs more broadly as well as our initial findings from the first PLGDP. As we will explore next, some prosecutors’ offices are
becoming motivated to launch a PLGDP in the hopes that it can contribute to efforts to curtail current rates of gun violence.

We hope that this implementation guide provides useful information to those engaged in criminal legal, decarceration, and community violence prevention work.

Read the report, "Prosecutor-Led Gun Diversion Programs: Implementation Guide"