developed in the late l960ís by a group of concerned citizens in
Thurston County. Their concerns revolved around young
persons getting caught up in property crimes and not having any
means by which they could avoid a criminal conviction.
Their further concerns were for victims who might not receive any
financial reimbursement for any loss sustained as a result of the
meetings were held with Patrick Sutherland, the Thurston
County Prosecutor, and members of his staff.
A decision was made to develop criteria for deputy
prosecutors and defense counsel to use in allowing some
defendants the opportunity for a pre-charge diversion.
In other words no criminal charges would be filed if the
defendant completed restitution, community service and
paid a fee to Friendship.
sentencing reform was enacted this process was modified
and today the criminal charges are filed against the
defendant. However, on successful completion of
the diversion the deputy prosecutor moves to have the
charges dismissed, except in some cases where the
charges are reduced (District Court).
mid 1990ís Mason County joined in the use of diversion
both in Superior and in District Court. . In 2003
we opened offices in Yakima, Spokane and Kitsap Counties
for Superior Court cases and, in 2004, Kitsap and
Spokane began making use of diversion for District
Court defendants. In 2006 Clallam and Jefferson
Counties signed contracts for diversion services and are
using diversion for both Superior and District Court.
Thurston County added District Court in 2006 as well.
addition to diversion we are also providing day
reporting supervision, electronic home monitoring and
alcohol detection, as well as supervising community
service for defendants who have had their jail time
converted to community service.
basic structure of diversion continues today with
defendants being held responsible for their actions
through financial reimbursement to the victim, the
completion of assigned community service hours, paying
the fee to Friendship reducing the cost to the taxpayers
and accepting responsibility for their crime.
Defendants often are assisted with employment, training,
education and referral to community resources in the
belief this will assist them in the future to avoid
further negative contact with the criminal justice