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Lead Agency: Public Defender Association

Program Name: LEAD

Location: Seattle, Washington

Partner Agencies: Police Departments, County Sheriff’s Office, Fire/EMS Departments, Behavioral Health agencies, City and County Prosecutors

Site population: 2,200,000

Pathway: Officer Intervention, Active Outreach, Naloxone Plus, Officer Prevention

Year Started: 2011



Seattle, Washington developed the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) model to divert individuals who would benefit from services and care coordination instead of incarceration. Analysis of Seattle drug arrests motivated the creation of the program as an alternative to jail and prosecution. The LEAD model is both a pre-arrest and pre-booking diversion program. In the pre-booking component, officers directly refer individuals to case managers. In pre-arrest, officers identify individuals who they think would benefit from treatment or services and offer assistance, without bringing charges. Individuals whose charges are not considered “divertable” but would still benefit from services and care coordination, have their case reviewed by prosecutors with an eye to special resolution alongside LEAD services. Case managers coordinate an individual’s access to services for needs such as treatment, housing, benefits, and health care. LEAD's impact on recidivism, system utilization and income sources and shelter was rigorously evaluated by an external team supported by Arnold Ventures.

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