Pre-arrest diversion

Diversion programmes are a chance for young people to start again. Here's what you need to know.

Hands 4

What are diversion programmes?

Risk-taking behaviour is common in adolescence. But some actions during this time can have long-term consequences, especially if they lead to involvement in the criminal justice system.

Pre-arrest diversion programmes like Re-Frame can interrupt the cycle of low-level offending and short sentencing. This is an opportunity to divert away from the criminal justice system and instead receive advice and support around challenges with drugs.

Re-Frame: pre-arrest diversion for young people

Delivered by trained substance misuse workers in our drug and alcohol support services across England, our Pre-Arrest Diversion programme, Re-Frame, is for young people aged 10-17 found in possession of a Class B or C drug. The aim is to reduce drug use and offending behaviour. 

We are grateful to the Youth Endowment Fund who funded a pilot evaluation of Re-Frame in Kent, Cornwall, and Sefton, and to our partners at Kent University who ran the evaluation

We talked about how much time you can get in prison for, you know, getting caught by the police with the drugs on you … if you were to sell them and how many years you’d get for it. So, I’m aware of the consequences.

Young Person who participated in Re-Frame

Key findings of Kent University’s evaluation: 

  • Both young people and police officers involved in Re-Frame reported positive experiences
  • High levels of acceptability were observed among stakeholders, and referral mechanisms were considered effective
  • As momentum builds for diversionary schemes, there are opportunities for reforming the criminal justice system to better support young people and their communities

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Think Re-Frame might be the programme you need?

Get in touch with your local WithYou service. We'll talk through the different options available to support you.

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1-2 miles - Considered within walking distance threshold, however, cycling, public transport, or a personal vehicle is advised if no safe walking routes.
10-15 miles - Generally between a minimum of 30 mins to 1 hour travel time expected via public transport or personal vehicle. This may depend on form of transport, time of day and/or road layouts.
20-25 miles - Generally between a minimum of 50 minutes to 1.5 hours travel time expected via public transport or personal vehicle. This may depend on form of transport, time of travel and/or road layouts