WW - MCAO, Felony Diversion Program Overview
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) created the Diversion Program Bureau in 2018, and program enrollment has increased significantly. To acknowledge that growth, it was renamed the Diversion Strategies Group in 2020. MCAO currently operates seven diversion programs: Felony Diversion, Check Enforcement, Animal Cruelty, Justice Court, Arizona Tobacco Education, Parenting Skills and Serious Mental Illness-Felony Diversion Program. Our programs were planned to ensure that offenders would receive treatment in accordance with their risk to re-offend and their criminogenic needs. The presentation will concentrate on the Felony Diversion Program (FDP) our newest and largest program. The presentation will explain why the FDP was established, which offenses and offenders are eligible for it, how the program aligns with evidenced-based practices, how the program will be evaluated for efficacy and how we will track the recidivism rate of those who successfully complete that program.
Jason Kalish is the Bureau Chief of the Training Bureau at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, where he is responsible for training the nearly 900 attorneys, paralegals, and staff in the office. Jason has spent his entire career as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and was awarded the Criminal Trial Division Attorney of the Year in 1999.
Mr. Kalish graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1993 with honors, earning a degree in criminology. He then attended the University of Arizona College of Law with the specific intent of becoming a prosecutor. During law school Mr. Kalish served as an Honors Intern with the FBI and worked in various capacities at the Pima County Attorney’s Office. He was sworn in as a lawyer on October 18, 1997, and as a Deputy Maricopa County Attorney two days later.
Mr. Kalish has prosecuted gang members and repeat offenders in the Gang/ROP bureau. He has served as a supervisor in other bureaus, including Charging/Grand Jury, Preliminary Hearings and Juvenile Crimes. Following the supervisory stints, he returned to trial work and spent nearly ten years prosecuting homicides, first in the Family Violence Bureau and then the Homicide Bureau (later renamed the Capital Litigation Bureau). Mr. Kalish was named APAAC Prosecutor of the Year in 2014 for his role as lead counsel in the retrial of the Buddhist Temple murders which occurred in 1991. Jason has always enjoyed teaching and was named the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Trainer of the Year in 2003.
He is married and enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and goldendoodle.
Patricia Cordova is the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) Director of the Diversion Strategies Group. She has worked for over 30 years in Arizona’s criminal justice system, including two gubernatorial administrations. In her current role with the MCAO she oversees the development and evaluation of all diversion programs. Based on criminal justice research and data-driven analysis of MCAO diversion programs, she recommends agency operational improvements and program modifications to contracted diversion providers. Often, she provides diversion training to Deputy County Attorneys and outside stakeholders. Throughout her career she has served in a variety of managing positions, primarily focused on advancing effective human service system policies and programs.
Grace Ku is the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Diversion Contract Compliance Administrator. She has approximately 28 years of service in Arizona’s criminal justice system. Prior to joining MCAO, Grace retired from the Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department as a Division Director of Probation Services where her expertise included: evidence-based practices in caseload management and supervision strategies, writing department policies and procedures, treatment alternatives for youth, and staff development, including the creation of new supervisor training curriculum and firearms investigations. In her current role at MCAO, Grace is responsible for contract development with diversion vendors, researching curricula options and building new diversion programs, vendor relations, and contract monitoring.
John Vivian, Ph.D. is the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Diversion Program Evaluator who has worked for over 35 years in Arizona's criminal justice system. He has taught at the collegiate level for 18 years. For the last 10 years, John has taught graduate level research and criminal justice courses for Grand Canyon University. He has extensive experience evaluating correctional treatment programs and has also been trained in the Arizona Management System which uses the Plan, Do, Check Act model of continuous improvement. John is former President of the Western Society of Criminology, Arizona Administrator’s Association and the Arizona Evaluation Network. He also served two terms on the Arizona Supreme Court’s Commission on Minorities. He has given 14 presentations at professional conferences and has six publications.