Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is a program that was first developed in King County/Seattle, WA. According to the LEAD National Bureau:
In a LEAD® program, police officers exercise discretionary authority at point of contact to divert individuals to a community-based, harm-reduction intervention for law violations driven by unmet behavioral health needs. In lieu of the normal criminal justice system cycle -- booking, detention, prosecution, conviction, incarceration -- individuals are instead referred into a trauma-informed intensive case-management program where the individual receives a wide range of support services, often including transitional and permanent housing and/or drug treatment. Prosecutors and police officers work closely with case managers to ensure that all contacts with LEAD® participants going forward, including new criminal prosecutions for other offenses, are coordinated with the service plan for the participant to maximize the opportunity to achieve behavioral change.
Multnomah County began its LEAD program as a pilot project in 2017. To learn how the LEAD program is working in Multnomah County, on this edition of Prison Pipeline we speak with Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Karen Kern from Central City Concern.
Photo by Jessica Morkert-Shibley.