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TAMARACK (treatment-focused) DIVERSION

Tamarack is a restorative alternative for adults with a criminal record who have been charged with a crime and have an underlying substance use or mental health issue. The State’s Attorney decides whether to refer the person out of the court system to our community-based Tamarack program. A person referred to Tamarack makes the choice to participate. In making this decision, a person must consider:

Am I willing to reflect on underlying issues that may have contributed to my actions, and take steps to address those issues?

Tamarack supports access to appropriate services and treatment to improve the health of the participant and reduce future interactions with the criminal justice system. Participants are assigned a case manager to guide the process, which includes substance use and mental health screenings, assessments, and engagement in treatment for 90 days. (If a participant is already engaged in treatment, the program coordinates with the established provider.)

Am I willing to accept responsibility for my choices and actions that led to the charge? 

The Court Diversion program is meant for people willing to be accountable for their actions.

Am I willing to take steps to repair harm I may have caused to people, property, relationships and/or the community?

Court Diversion includes the needs of harmed parties in the restorative process, which may include paying back restitution for damages to property. People impacted are given the opportunity to share their experience of the incident.

As with Court Diversion, Tamarack is for individuals who are ready to take responsibility for their actions and address any harms they may have caused in the community. Once connected with the appropriate resources, the participant may also participate in a restorative process. To develop a contract designed to repair the harm caused by their actions, which may include paying back restitution for damages to property. People impacted are given the opportunity to share their experience of the incident, and their needs are reflected in the contract.

When the participant successfully completes their contract, the State’s Attorney dismisses the charge, and the participant avoids a permanent criminal record. If an individual fails to complete their contract, the case is returned to the State’s Attorney for prosecution. 

The program fee ranges from $175 to $300. Payments plans, sliding scale and fee waivers are available.  Ability to pay is never a barrier to participation in Tamarack.

To learn more, visit the Vermont Association of Court Diversion Programs.