public defender association

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U.S.: Reps From 30+ Cities To Meet On Innovative Approach To Low-Level Drug Offenses

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LEAD Established Unique Collaboration Among Law Enforcement, Human Service Agencies, Business Leaders, and Community Members to Produce Nearly 60% Reduction in Recidivism in Seattle

Wednesday: Convening Hosted by Major Foundations and Seattle Police Department

Thursday: Convening Co-Hosted by Major Foundations and The White House

This week, government officials and community leaders from more than 30 city, county and state jurisdictions will gather to discuss an innovative program that brings together diverse stakeholders seeking to achieve better outcomes in public health and safety by diverting people from jail to services.

The program, known as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, was pioneered in Seattle. Under LEAD, police divert individuals who commit low-level drug offenses to harm reduction based case management services. An independent evaluation found that it reduced the likelihood of reoffending by nearly 60 percent compared to a control group that went through the criminal justice system “as usual.”

LEAD’s successes and positive evaluations have sparked widespread attention and interest, especially in a moment when the police role in dealing with “quality of life” issues is controversial and the way forward after the War On Drugs is uncertain.

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