Mayor Justin M. Bibb reverses prior roadblocks to Expand use of Diversion Center

by Office of the Mayor

Friday, January 14, 2022 – Cleveland, OH — Today, Mayor Justin M. Bibb announced a plan to expand the use of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Diversion Center for non-violent offenders and to refocus City resources to fight violent crime.  

In collaboration with law enforcement, the Diversion Center is designed for individuals experiencing a mental or physical health crisis due to substance abuse and/or addiction or for individuals with a history of experiencing a mental or physical health crisis. 

“The Diversion Center offers mental health services and is a proven model to reduce re-offending,” stated Mayor Bibb. “It is critical that we re-prioritize City resources to help first responders deliver the right response at the right time and target the root causes of violent crime.” 

The expansion of services includes: 

  1. Eliminating the need for pre-approval by a City Prosecutor and trusting Cleveland Police Officers to make the correct decision at the time of an arrest or stop; 
  2. Dramatically expanding the range of non-violent offenses for which Diversion is permitted; and 
  3. Protecting victims and complying with Marsy’s law by requiring officers to articulate and record their reasonable efforts to contact victims and the grounds for diversion. 

Under the new expansion, any non-violent misdemeanor offense can be eligible for screening and review for the Diversion Center except for the following: 

  1. Any escalating misdemeanor (i.e. domestic violence, menacing by stalking), including operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) and physical control;  
  2. Assault where physical harm results in medical assistance being needed; and 
  3. Any offense that qualifies as a sex offense. 

Earlier today, Mayor Bibb toured the Diversion Center with Interim Chief Drummond and Public Safety Director Karrie D. Howard. 

Mayor Bibb added, “Expanding these services will provide our officers with an alternative course of action and ensure that individuals experiencing a mental or physical health crisis receive the services and support they need.” 

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