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Difference Between Diversion and Supervised Release

Diversion vs supervised release

Diversion, completely known as a diversion program, is a program managed by one or more of the following authorities: court, police department, the district attorney’s office, and other external agencies. This program is designed so as to prevent the imposition of criminal charges against a person. This protects an individual by making him avoid a possible criminal record.

This program has several advantages. First, it de-stresses the court, the police and probationary offices. Secondly, it is said to give better results, compared to the cases that seek the direct intervention of the court. Lastly, it also deters the culprit from being persecuted. He just needs to comply with the requirements mandated by the diversion program. The requirements can be any of the following:

1. Giving restitution to those who became victims of the offender.
2. Completing a brief but comprehensive education requirement that is designed to deter the offender from committing future offenses.
3. Playing an important role in community service or community work.
4. Social avoidance, especially from those persons or activities that may spark the occurrence of another offense.

Diversion programs have also played a great role in managing the youth offenders. Instead of detaining minors who have offended the law or have caused trouble against other people, they will then be subjected to a form of rehabilitation as this is seen to provide better results compared to subjecting them to the harsher juvenile justice system.

Once the offender has completed the requirements of the program, the charges can then be lightened or even dropped. The complete opposite will happen if the offender fails to meet the said requirements.

On the other hand, supervised release (popularly known as parole) has different meanings across the different justice systems around the world. But in general, it is practically the same. When one is on parole, this means that he is under a supervised release. He is released from prison before completing the entirety of his sentence. It is different from those who had sought amnesty, as the parolees can still be brought back to prison if ever they break any of the regulations mandated in their parole statement.

One can be subjected to supervised release if he is obedient during his stay in prison. An example is when a prisoner distances themselves from drugs, alcohol, violence and performing other good deeds while still being detained. However, for the US Federal System, a defendant can be placed on a supervised release only after serving his or her complete prison sentence, thus differentiating its meaning from a regular parole.


1. Diversion is a program given to offenders of the law so as to prevent criminal persecution or to deter receiving a criminal record.
2. Supervised release is technically known as parole in most (not all) jurisdictions worldwide. It is releasing the detainee from prison before completing his sentence.

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