Australian police diversion for cannabis offences: Assessing program outcomes and cost effectiveness

September 2014

NDARC: Dr Marian Shanahan, Dr Caitlin Hughes, Matthew O’Reilly

Other Collaborators: 

Dr Tim McSweeney, Institute for Criminal Policy Research, Birkbeck, University of London

Project description: 

Police diversion is one of Australia’s most utilised interventions for drug offenders, yet there remains key gaps in knowledge about the outcomes and the cost-effectiveness of such approaches. For example, few studies have successfully obtained a control group of offenders who have not been diverted or have looked at program impacts beyond recidivism.

Using a purpose built national online survey, this study will evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of three different forms of police diversion for cannabis use/possession offences, namely cautions, expiation and warnings, versus a traditional criminal justice response.  

Those who have been detected by police for a cannabis use or possession offence in the last three-nine months can take part in the online survey at:

For more about this project: Go to NDARC's website