Skip to main content
King County logo

The Community Diversion Program (CDP) is a public safety strategy developed by the King County Executive Office , the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Public Health – Seattle & King County (DPH) , and community organizations.

CDP aims to address some of the root causes of a limited number of the lowest-level, non-violent, first-time felony cases. CDP also makes historic investments in loss recovery for harmed parties in ways that are much faster than what is currently possible through prosecution.

CDP does not involve violent offenses; gun crimes, weapons offenses, and people with repeat felony offenses are not eligible. CDP is only available to people facing their first felony offense, and there’s the option for traditional prosecution if people do not connect with community organizations or if they reoffend while in the program.

People with first-time, non-violent felony offenses who meet eligibility requirements are offered a research-informed, restorative form of accountability delivered by community organizations who are vetted by the Executive’s Office and King County government. In the CDP context, a restorative form accountability includes:

  • The participant does not contest the allegations against them;
  • They participate in a required needs assessment administered by Public Health;
  • They sign a release of information;
  • They are required to connect and meet with a community partner who is designed to address some of the individual social/behavioral/material needs they are experiencing and that were identified by Public Health, and;
  • If these affirmative steps aren’t met (and each participant only has one opportunity to participate in this process), or if they reoffend while in the program, the case comes back to the Prosecutor’s office for filing.

By addressing some of the root causes of why individuals commit their first felony, CDP’s goal is to prevent future crime, improve loss recovery outcomes for harmed parties, decrease racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system, and save taxpayer dollars.

We believe that when people facing first-time felony charges for non-violent crimes are given the opportunity to better themselves through community-based programs, we will see better outcomes for the community and those individuals – both in the short- and long-term.

Eligibility standards and programming details were developed and refined in collaboration with partners in the community, the County, and criminal justice system leaders. CDP was unanimously approved by the King County Council in November 2020 and signed by Executive Constantine as part of the County’s 2021-2022 budget.

The program design process continued through summer 2022 and a request for proposals for community-based alternatives was issued by Public Health Seattle and King County in March 2022.

 CDP outcomes will be evaluated by researchers at the Stanford University Policy Computational Lab.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. This program is not available for people accused of violent crimes, most crimes against persons, domestic violence, sexual assault, gun crimes or other weapons offenses. This program is also not available for people with a repeated felony history, concerning misdemeanor history, or cases with concerning criminal fact patterns identified by law enforcement investigators. In addition, like with all cases that come to the Prosecutor’s Office, if law enforcement officials have concerns about a particular individual or case, prosecutors listen to and can adjust initial decisions based on that feedback.

Only first-time felony offenses are eligible and eligible crime types consist of only the lowest level property crimes and drug offenses. All repeat felony offenses and other crimes are ineligible (i.e., most crimes against persons and all violent crimes, domestic violence, sexual assaults, and weapon offenses are excluded). Also, any cases with concerning facts or people with concerning misdemeanor history will be ineligible. In addition, like with all cases that come to the Prosecutor’s Office, if law enforcement has concerns about a particular individual or case that they think should be excluded from CDP, prosecutors can take that feedback into consideration and adjust. The Prosecutor’s Office is always open to taking an extra look at a case referral. Eligibility standards for CPD and programming details have been developed in collaboration with community members, service providers, King County government, and criminal justice partners.

Yes, the Prosecutor’s Office charges property crimes every day. People are routinely charged for vehicle prowls, car theft, home and commercial burglaries, felony-level drug dealing, identity theft, and many other felony crimes. Repeat felony offenses are not eligible for CDP. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office typically charges 20-30 felony cases of all types each business day. This includes multiple felony property crime cases. Each day, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office posts a summary of felony cases filed and you can see those daily summaries here .

Defendants with a prior felony offense are not eligible for CDP. The Prosecutor’s Office files criminal charges against people with repeat offenses on a daily basis and will continue to do so to hold people accountable.

No. The Prosecutor’s Office is charging drug dealing cases now and will continue to prosecute drug dealing when the case involves repeat felony offenses, and people with concerning misdemeanor history or facts. These typically involve fentanyl, heroin, or meth – serious cases, not simple marijuana cases.

Sentencing guidelines are set by state lawmakers and are not unique to King County. Outside of CDP, sentencing for the same first-time, low-level felony crimes typically leads to short sentences – just a few months or, often, credit for time served. This occurs across Washington State because these guidelines are set by state lawmakers. Sentences under the statewide guidelines are often not what the public imagines them to be.

Under statewide guidelines, each case processed through traditional court procedures has multiple court dates and resolution can take months or even years. Therefore, in many cases, harmed parties do not get restitution for years, and even then, it may be very small amounts of money received over years. A goal of CDP is to create a better outcome for all involved, with the continued goal of increasing public safety, decreasing recidivism, and helping harmed parties. This program is not replacing long sentences for repeat property crime: those long-term sentences are reserved for people charged with repeat offenses (who are not eligible for CDP).

Yes.  And that analysis – which is being conducted by Stanford University – will be made public. The goal is a transparent, data-driven program with a proven track record for success. We will monitor the numbers very closely to ensure the program is working as planned and reducing new crimes in the community.

An experienced Deputy Prosecuting Attorney will screen eligible individuals facing their first low-level property/drug felony to determine whether the case and the individual meet CDP criteria.

After being screened by the Prosecutor’s Office, identified participants will undergo a needs assessment with Public Health. Following that assessment, Public Health will connect the participant with a community-based organization. As of September 2022, those organizations include: Jones Community Solutions, Peer Seattle, Therapeutic Health Services, Project for a Civil Society, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Weld, YMCA, and Choose 180. Additional partner organizations will likely be added as CDP continues.

A limited number of people with first-time, non-violent offenses who meet eligibility requirements will be offered a researched-informed, restorative form of

accountability delivered by community organizations who are vetted by the Executive’s Office and the County.

In the CDP context, a restorative form accountability includes:

  • The participant does not contest the allegations against them;
  • They participate in a required needs assessment administered by Public Health;
  • They sign a release of information;
  • They are required to connect and meet with a community partner who is designed to address some of the individual social/behavioral/material needs they are experiencing and that were identified by Public Health, and;
  • If these affirmative steps aren’t met (and each participant only has one opportunity to participate in this process), or if they reoffend while in the program, the case comes back to the Prosecutor’s office for filing.

We believe that when people facing first-time charges for non-violent crimes are given the opportunity to better themselves through community-based programs, we will see better outcomes for the community and those individuals – both in the short- and long-term.

As the program ramps up, this webpage will be updated with summaries of the cases referred to this program.

The King County Executive’s 2021-22 budget. These funds were approved unanimously by the King County Council.

Statistics show that a first felony conviction is a tipping point that often results in individuals committing additional felonies. This is true across ages, races, and genders. CDP is meant to reduce the likelihood of recidivism and improve the outcomes of an individual’s first interaction with the Superior Court system. We know a first felony conviction — even of a non-violent offense — can impact employment, housing, education and scholarship opportunities. We believe that when people facing first-time felony charges for non-violent crimes are given the opportunity to better themselves through community-based programs, we will see better outcomes for the community and those individuals – both in the short- and long-term.



No. It’s important to hold people accountable when they commit crime—and this program does that. CDP offers a researched-informed, restorative form of accountability for a limited number of people with first-time, non-violent offenses.

In the CDP context, a restorative form accountability includes:

  • The participant does not contest the allegations against them;
  • They participate in a required needs assessment administered by Public Health;
  • They sign a release of information;
  • They are required to connect and meet with a community partner who is designed to address some of the individual social/behavioral/material needs they are experiencing and that were identified by Public Health, and;
  • If these affirmative steps aren’t met (and each participant only has one opportunity to participate in this process), or if they reoffend while in the program, the case comes back to the Prosecutor’s office for filing.

This program is not available for people accused of violent crimes, most crimes against persons, domestic violence, sexual assault, gun crimes or other weapons offenses. This program is also not available for people with a repeated felony history, concerning misdemeanor history, or cases with concerning criminal fact patterns identified by law enforcement investigators.

Separate from this program, King County prosecutors continue to file 20-30 felony crimes daily. That includes violent crime, repeat property crime, and lower-level felony cases.

It’s important to remember that under the mandatory statewide sentencing guidelines set by the Washington State Legislature, most people charged with a first-time, non-violent felony offense cannot, under state law, receive lengthy sentences. Instead, charges are filed, lawyers are assigned, and the cases are set for multiple court hearings over many months or years. This is a lengthy, expensive process that frequently results in a sentence of credit for time already served. As a result, under the current system, harmed parties often have to wait a long time to see a resolution for the harm they have experienced. By contrast, with CDP harmed parties of property crimes can get some of their out-of-pocket losses paid up front rather than waiting months or years for restitution to be ordered following a conviction (if there is one). 

For all of the above reasons, we believe CDP will create significantly better outcomes for both harmed parties and people accused of their first felony. At the same time, CDP includes safeguards, because prosecutors reserve the right to file charges through the traditional court system if an individual does not connect with a community organization or if they reoffend. The program is also not set in stone; King County will collect data, Stanford University will evaluate the process and outcomes, and King County agencies can make adjustments as needed.



No. CDP is available for any adult whose case meets CDP criteria (first time, non-violent felony). Keeping people from committing repeat offenses – which is what this program aims to do – is in the best interest of everyone in King County. We believe that when people facing first-time felony charges for non-violent crimes are given the opportunity to better themselves through community-based programs, we will see better outcomes for the community and those individuals – both in the short- and long-term.

Statistics show that a first felony conviction is a tipping point that often results in individuals committing additional felonies. This is true across ages, races, and genders, but the population impacted has historically and disproportionately been people of color. CDP is meant to reduce the likelihood of recidivism and improve the outcomes of an individual’s first interaction with the Superior Court system. We know a first felony conviction — even of a non-violent offense — can impact employment, housing, and education and educational scholarship opportunities. We also anticipate that CDP will help reduce some of the racial disproportionality that currently exists in the criminal justice system.

CDP is a strategy to improve public safety. By addressing some of the root causes that lead people to commit their first felony offense, CDP aims to alleviate some of the conditions that may lead people to commit future crime. In practice, this could involve connecting individuals to drug treatment, mental health treatment, or other services that can make people more stable and less likely to commit future crime. Future crime and harmed party satisfaction are part of the program evaluation being conducted by Stanford University.

We believe that when people facing first-time charges for non-violent crimes are given the opportunity to better themselves through community-based programs, we will see better outcomes for the community and those individuals – both in the short- and long-term.


In Manitoba, Canada, law enforcement saw success with a similar program targeted to domestic violence. There also was a multi-state evaluation of prosecutor-led diversion funded by the National Institute of Justice. According to the study, which reviewed programs in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Vermont: “Although it bears noting that we evaluated program impacts in a limited number of sites, meaning that our findings may not be generalizable to other sites and programs that we did not study, our research yielded positive results. Across five programs in three sites, diversion participants benefited from a reduced likelihood of conviction and incarceration; and in four of the five programs, pretrial diversion participation led to reduced re-arrest rates. In addition, in all four programs where a cost evaluation was conducted, diversion cases involved a lesser resource investment than similar comparison cases.”

RCP and CDP are completely separate programs.

RCP is a largely community-led program for youth. By contrast, CDP focuses on adults, and is a led by King County Executive’s Office in partnership with Public Health – Seattle & King County (DPH), the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and community organizations. CDP was unanimously approved by the King County Council in November 2020 and signed by Executive Constantine as part of the County’s 2021-2022 budget. The program design process continued through summer 2022 and a request for proposals for community-based alternatives was issued by Public Health Seattle and King County in March 2022. CDP outcomes will be evaluated by researchers at Stanford University.

One major advantage is that eligible harmed parties can get some of their financial losses recovered up front. At the same time, individuals who commit a low-level felony offense will be given a one-time chance to avoid their first felony conviction, while undergoing a restorative form of accountability in the near term rather than years. Community-based, culturally relevant partners will be engaged to help break the cycle of recidivism. And we anticipate that racial disproportionality will be diminished. In addition, all of this expected to cost less than the current overburdened system of traditional felony prosecution. Traditional prosecution will still be possible, however, for those who do not connect with a community-based alternative or reoffend.


Under the traditional court system, first-time, non-violent crimes may take years to resolve. Further, defendants may not have the ability to pay restitution, or may have their court-ordered restitution payments spread out over the course of many months or years. Accordingly, in the traditional court system, harmed parties may wait years to have their out-of-pocket expenses that result from crime (a broken storefront window of a small business, for example) recovered.

CDP is a significant improvement for harmed parties regarding loss recovery because they can get their loss recovered much sooner. For harmed parties who experienced a loss that directly impacts their quality of life, this is a far better – and faster outcome, than is currently available through traditional prosecution.