LEAD seeks to reduce future criminal behavior by homeless and addicted individuals who commit low-level offenses in our community.
LEAD is a pre-charging diversion program, which means that some individuals may avoid having charges filed altogether if they enter and complete the program. The program pairs participants with LEAD case managers who act as brokers of services for the participant and connect them with services the client needs and is ready for, including addiction treatment, medical care, housing, and job placement.
There are two paths into LEAD:
- When a law enforcement officer investigates an individual for a low-level offense, such as trespass or small theft, and the officer determines that the individual is eligible for the LEAD program, the individual will not be taken to jail. Instead, the officer will 'hand off' the individual to an on-call social services caseworker/case manager. The individual must then complete an in-depth assessment, as directed by the case manager, within 14 days of referral and sign a release of information allowing information to be shared with LEAD partners. The investigating officer will write an arrest report and forward it to the District Attorney’s Office for review. A Deputy District Attorney will review the report to ensure compliance with program criteria. If the individual completes the in-depth assessment and follow-up treatment and meets all other LEAD criteria, no criminal charges will be filed on the individual’s case. If the individual does not follow through, criminal charges will be filed.
- A LEAD partner will refer an individual into the program without a specific criminal charge to be diverted. Here the LEAD partner determines that the individual fits the criteria: he or she is affected by drugs or alcohol, experiencing or facing homelessness, and is involved in the criminal justice system. If the LEAD team determines that the individual would benefit from participation and that the quality of life of our community would be improved by a reduction in future criminal activity by that candidate, the candidate is brought into LEAD.