Diversion Programs

Orange County Criminal Justice Resource Department Diversion Programming

The purpose of diversion programs is to reduce the harm of legal system involvement for individuals by diverting them to therapeutic and educational resources. Participants work with a diversion coordinator to complete a diversion plan that provides support through accountability, information about the collateral consequences of criminal justice involvement, and service referrals to specialized programming that meet the individual’s needs in order to resolve their matter without the lasting collateral consequences of an arrest or criminal conviction.

Referrals for diversion are made by law enforcement and court personnel with the ultimate goal of increasing community safety and well-being by offering earlier and direct access to interventions and information that reduce the likelihood of recidivism and allow law enforcement to prioritize more pressing public safety issues. Diversion programs are more effective and less costly than arrest, court referrals, and incarceration; and have long-term economic benefits for the individual and the community. In addition, diversion improves community relations with law enforcement, reduces racial disparities and improves public health outcomes.

The Orange County Criminal Justice Resource Department oversees three different diversion programs that focus on different justice-involved communities, and use 3 different sets of eligibility criteria:

  • Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion (OC PAD) - adult first offenders of certain low-level misdemeanor offenses.
  • Youth Deflection Program - youth 17 and under who commit offenses, or are at risk of committing an offense, but may not need juvenile justice system involvement.
  • Lantern Project - adults with a behavioral health (mental health or substance use) diagnosis and have prior or pending legal system involvement.

Follow the links or see the right side-bar for more information about each program including who to contact and eligibility information.

Diversion referral form for Law Enforcement

Diversion referral form for Court Stakeholders

  1. Criminal Justice Resource Department

    Physical Address
    106 E Margaret Lane
    1st Floor, Courthouse
    Hillsborough, NC 27278

    Phone: : 919-245-2303
    Fax: : 919-640-1729

  2. Desmond Frierson

    Diversion Programs Coordinator
    Phone: 919-245-2312; Cell: 336-212-5883

  3. Tami Pfeifer, LCSW

    Youth Behavioral Health Liaison
    Phone: 919-245-2311; Cell: 919-698-9130