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Implementing Alternatives

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 12:00pm

Douglas County has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the state and it is far below the national average. This is, in part, due to the County’s array of programs to divert individuals safely away from jail. Safely diverting individuals from jail not only relieves some of the overcrowding currently at the jail, but it also allows these individuals to maintain employment and family ties, improving their chances of changing their behavior and making positive contributions in our community when they participate in an alternative to incarceration program.

Individuals who meet certain criteria, and who are determined not to be a public safety risk, may participate in these programs. Recent additions to our alternatives to incarceration have been implemented through the work of Douglas County's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.


The Assess-Identify-Divert program (AID) screens all bookings for mental illness and women, veterans, and individuals believed to have a serious mental illness for substance abuse, trauma, and criminogenic risk.  The screening information is used to provide recommendations for release from jail into appropriate services in the community.  The program was launched in 2016 and by December 31, 2017 has served 360 individuals.  The AID program has been recognized by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a national best practice.

Pretrial Release

The Pretrial Release program is for low-risk adult defendants while they are awaiting trial. From May – December 2017, the program diverted 197 defendants saving nearly 6,000 jail bed days.

Behavioral Health Court

The Behavioral Health Court (BHC) is a specialized court docket for mentally ill offenders whose symptoms contribute toward their criminal behavior. Eligible clients voluntarily participate in a judicially supervised course of treatment. In 2017, 15 offenders have been served by the BHC, with two of those individuals already successfully completing their treatment.

House Arrest

The House Arrest program is a sentencing option for judges for offenders with non-violent crimes, first offenses or juvenile offenses. Since October, 46 offenders are utilizing this program.

District Attorney Diversion

Diversions by the District Attorney is another program to divert qualifying individuals from jail. Defendants have their case dismissed if they successfully complete their individualized program that often focus on counseling, treatment and behavior modification instead of punitive measures.

In 2018, working with DCCCA and reentry staff at the jail, the District Attorney is adding another diversion program specifically aimed at non-violent repeat female offenders who have an identified substance use disorder. The goal is to offer a program that will allow for quick release from jail to a suite of support services that will address issues of substance abuse, mental health, housing and employment.

Women’s Substance Use Disorder Diversion

In March 2018, the Douglas County Women’s Substance Use Disorder Prosecutor-Led Diversion and Treatment Program was established to more effectively address the increasing number of non-violent repeat female participants cycling through the local court systems and the jail.

The program is a specialized pre-trial, prosecutor-led diversion program targeting incarcerated females. They are released to a meaningful monitoring program with support services aimed at addressing substance use, mental health, housing and employment. The diversion will last up to 12 months, for women incarcerated at the Douglas County jail who have an identified substance use disorder, and are selected for participation based on medical necessity criteria and Reentry screening.

The diversion program is supported by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Reentry Program and DCCCA.


The purpose of this information is to educate the public. We encourage all Douglas County residents to learn more about alternatives to incarceration and how these programs can impact public safety, including operations at the jail, in order to make an informed decision about these issues.


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Douglas County