The Western Australian Court Diversion Service: Client Profile and Predictors of Program Completion, Sentencing and Re-Offending
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Nursing and Public Health
The Western Australian Court Diversion Service (CDS) is a post‐conviction / pre‐sentence program that aims to divert substance‐using offenders from the prison system and into treatment programs. It has been in operation since 1988, though a formal evaluation has not been conducted. The present study evaluated the outcomes for offenders referred to the program in relation to program completion, sentencing and re‐offending. It utilised a quasi‐experimental within groups design using data from client files from January 1998 to June 1999. Offenders who had higher motivation, attended treatment regularly and had less than 20 prior convictions were more likely to complete the program. A custodial sentence was more likely if the offender was male, had committed a serious offence, had more than 30 prior convictions, had lower motivation and had not completed the CDS program. Predictors of re‐offending included lower motivation and a previous custodial sentence. The offender's level of motivation to change and number of prior convictions were significant predictors of all three outcomes: program completion, sentencing and re‐offending. The findings highlight the importance of considering offender characteristics when assessing eligibility for diversion programs, addressing offender motivation within diversion programs and considering issues of which offenders are most likely to benefit from which programs.