Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Overview
In 2011, Seattle, Washington piloted the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. LEAD, now growing across the country, is an evidence-based, collaborative, pre-arrest diversion program aimed at improving public safety by reducing drug use, drug selling, and the quality-of-life problems associated with open-air drug markets. The program focuses on providing harm reduction–oriented intensive case management, behavioral health, and substance abuse care rather than filing a criminal charge and seeking prosecution and incarceration.
Key features of the program
- Collaboration: LEAD requires a high level of collaboration between prosecutors, law enforcement, behavioral health providers, and a broad array of support service providers.
- Pre-Arrest Diversion: By diverting individuals at the point of contact, LEAD reduces harms related to arrest and the creation or expansion of a criminal history.
LEAD has shown great success for participants who have behavioral health and substance use needs. When compared to non-LEAD participants, LEAD participants are:
- Twice as likely to be sheltered in temporary or transitional housing;
- 89% more likely to have obtained permanent housing;
- 46% more likely to be on the employment continuum;
- 33% more likely to be connected to income/benefits subsequent to LEAD involvement; and
- 60% less likely of having at least one arrest following program entry.
Read or download the full paper Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Overview.