January 29, 2016 – The Institute has joined many other public and community organizations in Albany’s new initiative, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), which provides for pre-arrest diversion of eligible offenders with a history of alcohol, drug, or mental health problems, and for a service infrastructure to which diverted offenders can be referred. Seattle pioneered the program in 2011, and Albany is the third city to adopt it. Currently in a pre-implementation planning stage, Albany is preparing to launch the program in the next few months.
With support from the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Institute is conducting a process evaluation, and will also seek sponsors for an extended process and outcome evaluation. Institute director Rob Worden said “The preliminary results from Seattle show that this harm reduction initiative reduces recidivism at the same time that it saves public resources. On its face, it is a sensible approach to thorny problems. We’re excited to be a part of the initiative in Albany, and we hope that our evaluation will be able to contribute to learning how the program can be strengthened as it is implemented to maximize its effectiveness, and also help other jurisdictions benefit from Albany’s experience.”
Click on the following links for additional information about the LEAD initiative: TimesUnion 12/16/15, TimesUnion 6/25/15, News10 6/25/15, AlbanyPoliceDeptFB 12/15/15, DrugPolicyNews 6/24/15, Vice 6/2/15