National Policy Think Tank Profiles Diversion Program Changing Lives of Young Offenders

February 28, 2018

For the past two years, The Choice is Yours (TCY), a diversion program operated by JEVS Human Services, has received a portion of its funding via the city of Philadelphia’s MacArthur Foundation Safety + Justice Challenge Grant. The Vera Institute of Justice, a nationally recognized policy and research organization, is the evaluator for this grant and published an extraordinary profile on the program and its unprecedented 13 percent recidivism rate one year post-graduation.

The Choice is Yours is a felony diversion program that channels young people arrested for drug possession with intent to distribute (PWID) away from jail and into education, skills and employment services, supported with case management and restorative justice activities. Developed by the District Attorney’s Office in partnership with the Philadelphia Municipal Court and Defender’s Association, TCY is available to young adults who are arrested for their first felony drug sale offense. Without TCY they would be facing a range of sentences, typically from 18 months’ probation to two years in custody. Conviction would come with a permanent felony record—making employment, housing assistance, and other social services difficult to get upon release.

Read more here about our program, mentoring staff, and success stories from the Vera Institute’s “Beyond Diversion: An innovative alternative-to-jail program focuses on young adult development”:

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