Methods: The authors conducted reviews of the history and evidence of diversion practices and outcomes, and evidence on financial capability and asset building in criminal justice and other settings. The authors then applied the FCAB conceptual framework to different potential exit points from incarceration after involvement in the criminal justice system, including deflection, pre-trial and post-trial diversion, and specialty court diversion.
Results: The authors use the FCAB conceptual framework to develop a program model for design and operations that integrates FCAB services in diversion programming. The authors stress the importance of conducting financial assessments at the outset to tailor individual needs within a standard set of program services. An educational infrastructure built into some diversion programs could be expanded to include household financial management and budget mechanisms to provide manageable bail, restitution, and other fee payments. Financial guidance could include education and assistance toward accessible, affordable and safe financial products and services including credit repair and credit building, or asset building opportunities such as matched savings programs to build resources for education, housing, business/employment development, or retirement.
Conclusions and Implications: This paper provides direction for including FCAB interventions in diversion programming to improve outcomes for individuals who have made contact with the criminal justice system. Issues such as inadequate housing or childcare, previous involvement with the criminal legal system, addiction, lack of access to employment, are all rooted in financial vulnerability. Such vulnerability can be alleviated by FCAB services, but the extent to which they do so deserves further testing. Providing such interventions earlier in justice involvement can be viewed more largely as a diversion from an old system of inequities to a new standardized system that empowers individuals to take an actionable path toward greater economic stability and financial wellbeing.