Diversion Centers

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Probationers may be sentenced directly to a diversion center or may be sent there as part of a revocation or sentence modification.

The centers are residential, but probationers hold paying jobs in the local community. All paychecks are sent directly to the centers, which deduct room and board, restitution, fines, fees, and other court ordered monies before depositing the remainder in an account for the probationer. If the probationer has a family, support for the family is also withdrawn from this account. The probationer may make small withdrawals from the account for transportation to and from work, maintenance items, or small incidentals. The centers are community-based, and efforts are made to help the offender to develop or maintain pro-social ties with both family and community

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There are thirteen diversion centers around the state, four of which have units for female probationers. The total capacity of diversion centers is 1,160 with 184 beds designated for females. New centers are planned for Dalton, Valdosta, and Dublin. (During FY03, the Bainbridge Probation Substance Abuse Treatment Center was administered as a diversion center. Statistics below include the Bainbridge PSATC. However, descriptions of that facility are now found with the Probation Detention Centers.)

Center Population - At the end of FY03, there were 1,057 probationers in the centers. There were 57 misdemeanants, about 5% of the total population. The most common crime type was property (44% or 459).

Crime Type Center Population End of FY03
Property 459
Drug Sales 99
Drug Poss. 271
Sex Offenses 26
Other 78
TOTAL 1,057

Cost and Contributions. The cost for diversion centers is $19,709 per year, nearly $2,000 more than a prison bed. However, the cost is offset by the room and board collections that are returned to the State of Georgia. This offset lowers the actual cost to the state to $15,861 per year, about $2,000 a year less than a prison.

The average length of stay in a diversion center is a little over 3 months. The average length of stay in a prison is almost three and a half years. The cost of a year in a prison, $17,758, is sufficient to confine only one offender. The cost of a year in a diversion center, $15,861, is sufficient to confine almost four offenders.

Offenders in prison pay no taxes and pay no family support, while residents of the diversion centers do both. During FY03, residents of diversion centers earned over $11.5 million and paid more than $2 million in taxes. They paid nearly $419,000 in family support.
In FY03, probationers in diversion centers performed nearly 180, 000 hours of public service.

Category Collections
Gross Earnings $ 11,532,593.72
Room, Board and Related Expenses $ 4,312,661.36
Fees, Fines, Costs $ 2,503,382.00
Restitution $ 906,868.01
Community Service Value $ 877,308.18
Family Support $ 419,895.28