November 19, 2012: In an effort to better coordinate the growing number of pre-trial diversionary programs offered by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Seth Williams has created a new “Diversion Courts Unit”. The new Unit will be lead by Assistant District Attorney Derek Riker, who has been named Chief of Diversion Courts effective today, November 19, 2012.
“This is a part of my continuing goal of focusing our resources on violent offenders,” says District Attorney Seth Williams. “By diverting more non-violent offenders into programs that will address their needs, these individuals are less likely to become repeat offenders. This is what ‘Smart on Crime’ means, and I am very pleased that Derek Riker will help the office with our ongoing efforts to make the public safer.”
Diversion programs are an alternative to prosecution and an important part in the ever evolving strategy of the District Attorney’s Office to be ‘Smart on Crime.’ The Diversion Courts Unit will consist of:
Accelerated Misdemeanor Program (AMP)
Small Amount of Marijuana program (SAM)
Intermediate Punishment (IP)
The Choice is Yours (TCY)
Bench Warrant Court
Drug Treatment Court
DUI Treatment Court
The aim of these programs is to hold non-violent offenders accountable for their actions and begin addressing underlying causational issues prior to engaging in the often lengthy trial process.
Diversion programs provide a means for the District Attorney’s Office and the courts to prevent future criminal activity among certain offenders by diverting them from traditional prosecution into community supervision and treatment services. They enable prosecutors to target candidates for rehabilitative programs and for the courts to provide additional services to those offenders in need of more structured forms of supervision. Equally important, these diversion programs will save limited prosecutorial and judicial resources and allow for concentration on major cases dealing with the city’s most violent and dangerous offenders.
The Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) and Veteran’s Court will remain under the supervision of Pre-Trial Unit Chief, Guy Garant.