Helping Your Community Create Pre-Arrest Diversion (Civil Citation) Programs: An Effective Alternative to Arrest

The Civil Citation Network helps communities and local leaders identify, design, implement and measure pre-arrest diversion programs for adults and juveniles, an effective, modern criminal justice solution.


Who We Are

The Civil Citation Network (CCN) is a nonprofit entity with the goal of promoting the expansion of both juvenile and adult pre-arrest diversion programs. The Civil Citation Network was created after the success of both juvenile and adult pre-arrest diversion programs in Leon County, Florida.

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What is Pre-Arrest Diversion

Pre-arrest diversion (PAD) programs, also known as civil citation and other names, are an innovative front end community response on how to handle low level offenses, often accompanied by behavioral health issues. These programs provide efficient and effective responses to low-level crime, and while growing nationally and internationally, are still currently underutilized.

With PAD programs, rather than arresting the individual, the law enforcement officer has the discretion to issue a referral to the civil citation program. This approach reduces the collateral consequences of an arrest for the individual, supports and builds community policing initiatives, and offers an opportunity to link these individuals with services, including substance use disorder treatment and mental health care, which assists the individual on a new behavioral pathway. Those who qualify and successfully complete a pre-arrest diversion program have the benefit of not having an arrest record. These programs assure public safety by assessing and engaging the individual in consequences for their behavior such as intervention services, educational sessions and/or community service.

How Does Pre-Arrest Diversion Work?

Pre-arrest diversion programs, also known as civil citation programs and other names, have one unifying purpose – providing individual accountability through an alternative to arrest for low-level criminal offenses. Whether for juveniles or adults, there are five key components to a comprehensive pre-arrest diversion program:

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Model Programs

Whether you're looking into developing, implementing or improving program outcomes for Pre-Arrest Diversion, CCN is there to help you! Provided here are two examples of best practice model programs for adults and juveniles, complete with all five components.

Pre-Arrest Diversion for Adults – A Model Program

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Pre-Arrest Diversion for Juveniles – A Model Program

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Juvenile Civil Citation Graduate
"Hanging out with friends, I made a bad choice resulting in a minor offense. I am so grateful for the Civil Citation program because I did not have an arrest on my record. I was admitted to a University Law School with the entirety of my tuition paid for. I worked in the judicial chambers for a Court of Appeals judge. Now I am about to graduate from law school. And this fall, I will be in a courtroom litigating."
Civil Citation Graduate
"My friend didn't get civil citation, and he has been asked about his record in a couple of job interviews and is having problems finding a place that will rent to him. I haven’t had any trouble getting jobs, or getting into school, or finding housing.”

Pre-Arrest Diversion Programs

This interactive national directory for both adult and juvenile programs demonstrates the wide-spread growth of pre-arrest program across the United States. By clicking on the map or the corresponding list of states below, you can see what activities are happening in these areas.


Resources & Info

Check back for additional resources as new materials continue to be added!


In this section, we have provided links to model legislation that will assist you in developing pre-arrest legislation in your jurisdiction.
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Links to helpful toolkits are available in this section as you develop and implement your pre-arrest diversion program.
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Adult Resources

A number of resources for adult pre-arrest diversion programs are available here providing comprehensive information on the need and value of such programs.
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Juvenile Resources

A list of resources for juvenile pre-arrest diversion programs are provided here with detailed information on the need and value of such programs.
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