The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office (“MCPO”) has established a prosecutor-led diversion program called the Restart Diversion Program (“Restart”) for non-violent, low-level offenders with pending 3rd or 4th degree charges in Monmouth County Superior Court. Participants are believed to have committed their offenses due to an existing or suspected mental health disorder or there is a nexus between the offense and their mental health disorder. Candidates will undergo a legal and clinical screening before being accepted into the program. Accepted applicants will plead guilty with a jail alternative. The goal is to work with appropriate individuals who agree to comply with supervised treatment and social services thereby avoiding incarceration and restarting their life. Should the participant successfully complete Restart, a motion for dismissal of the charge(s) will be made before the respective judge. DWI and DWS motor vehicle tickets are not eligible for dismissal. The program is a minimum of one year. Acceptance, compliance, violation and completion of Restart is in the discretion of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.  These decision by the MCPO are final and not subject to appellate review.

MISSION STATEMENT

Restart seeks to create a community-based collaborative mental health diversion program to divert defendants from incarceration or conviction to mental health services and case management. Inclusion in the program will be determined on a case-by-base basis by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office while considering public safety concerns, victim input and the applicant’s circumstances.

 ADMISSION CRITERIA

  • Defendant must be legally, clinically, and case management appropriate for services.
  • There must be a nexus between the diagnosis and commission of the act in question.
  • Defendant must be a resident of Monmouth County at the time of arrest and while being supervised.
  • Monmouth County residents will be evaluated for eligibility. Out-of-county residents will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be excluded based upon availability of resources.
  • Charges must be pending in the Monmouth County Superior Court.
  • The program will focus on defendants with pending 3rd and 4th degree charges.
  • A prior criminal history, prior conditional discharge or prior entry into PTI will not preclude a defendant’s entry into Restart, but will be a factor in determining eligibility.
  • The criminal acts in question are non-violent in nature; however, certain violent acts will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of the conduct, input of the victim and presence of a weapon, among other factors.
  • Defendant must provide proof of a serious mental illness or, if not previously diagnosed, diagnosed with same following a clinical evaluation by the Restart team.
  • Defendant must be willing to provide medical and psychiatric records, accept case management, engage in court meetings, attend and participate in treatment, and comply with prescription medication, if indicated.

EXCLUSIONARY CRITERIA

  • Criminal conduct not related to a mental health disorder
  • Substance use is the primary diagnosis
  • Defendant cannot safely be treated in the community
  • Violent nature of the offense or violent criminal history
  • Any sexually based crime, including but not limited to sexual assault, sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child
  • Cases where admission will impact a co-defendant’s case
  • Offenses involving firearms
  • Arson charges
  • Offenses involving intimate partner domestic violence (assessments may be made on a case-by-case basis)

REFERRAL PROCESS

  • Referrals can be made to the Restart Coordinator post-arrest or post-indictment by filling out the Referral Form, Application, Agreement, Release and Waiver contained in the “Resources” section below.
  • Cases will be evaluated by the Restart Coordinator to determine legal eligibility. The assessment will include the current charge, criminal history, medical and psychiatric records, and victim input.
  • Defendant must sign a release allowing mental health providers to communicate with the court, prosecutor, defense attorney and Restart Clinical Team.
  • Defense counsel will obtain and provide electronic copies to the Prosecutor’s Office.
  • The Restart Clinical Team led by CPC Integrated Health will also review records and information provided to assess clinical and case management eligibility. If the Clinical Team determines that the applicant appears clinically eligible, then a clinical evaluation and risk assessment will be performed. A detailed treatment plan will be provided if deemed clinically eligible.
  • All documents will be reviewed and treated as confidential.

 ACCEPTANCE AND PLEA

  • Upon acceptance into Restart, the defendant will plead guilty before the Restart Judge to the charge(s) with a recommended jail alternative. Defendant will be required to agree to an Order of Acceptance, which will detail the specific conditions of the program.
  • The defendant’s sentence will be held in abeyance.
  • DWI and DWS motor vehicle tickets are not eligible for dismissal.

COMPLIANCE

  • While in Restart, the defendant will continue to be represented by a defense attorney and both counsel and defendant are required to appear before the court for regular reviews determined by the Restart Team.
  • The Restart Team will regularly discuss defendant’s compliance and progress.
  • Restart participants will be able to utilize the services of the Link 2 Care Resource Card.

  • Defendant’s compliance and violation of Restart is determined by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office with input from the Clinical Team. This decision will be final and not subject to appellate review.
  • If the defendant does not comply with the terms of Restart, a violation of Restart letter will be uploaded to Ecourts and mailed to the defendant’s last known address. The defendant will be subject to appropriate sanctions, additional services, continuation and/or termination and sentence.
  • Should defendant be terminated by Restart as determined at the violation of Restart hearing, defendant may not withdraw their plea and the State will recommend the Restart judge impose the jail alternative.

SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION AND GRADUATION

  • Should the defendant successfully complete Restart as determined by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, a motion for dismissal will be made before the Restart judge and a graduation will be held.

RESOURCES

  • If your client is applying to Restart, please fill out the documents below and email them to Restart Coordinator Assistant Prosecutor Lindsay Ashwal at lashwal@mcponj.org

          Restart Diversion Program Referral Form

          Restart Diversion Program Application – Agreement – Release – Waiver