LEAD® in the News 

Program that sends criminals to treatment instead of jail doubling spending in 2020

KIRO - Oct. 20, 2019

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New program would cut crime, help addicts

Albuquerque Journal - Dec. 15, 2013

A new program to help addicts and to help prevent burglaries is in the works to tackle the city's drug problem.

Instead of Arresting Drug Addicts, These Massachusetts Cops Are Offering Free Treatment

The Huffington Post - May 12, 2015

Instead of locking up drug addicts, police in Gloucester, Massachusetts, are leading them to the road of recovery.

Drug program a good alternative to lockup

Oct. 16, 2011

"Some smart people in King County are experimenting with breaking old, ineffective strategies in search of solutions to drug-related crime."

Seattle Pilot Program Offers Treatment Not Arrest - Nov. 17, 2011

According to a recent study by the Seattle Police Department, some 50 people in Belltown were responsible for a whopping 2700 arrests. Now, instead of cycling those people through more endless -- and expensive -- rounds of arrest, prosecution, incarceration, and supervision, local officials and the Seattle Defender Association have embarked on an innovative pilot program.

Treatment, Not Jail, For Low Level Drug Crimes

NPR - Nov. 25, 2011

NPR interviews King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, Seattle Police Assistant Chief Jim Pugel and Public Defender Association Executive Director Lisa Duagaard about the White House report showing that Black and Hispanic people are arrested and jailed for drug offenses at a disproportional rate.

Ogg's new marijuana policy is a smart move

Houston Chronicle - March 2, 2017

"We - and other justice system leaders - now know that this incarceration-driven approach was short-sighted. This thinking failed to advance the goals of public safety that it sought to further, and had devastating consequences for our communities. It tore families apart, made it more difficult for those struggling with addiction to attain and keep gainful employment, and burdened taxpayers without achieving the intended result of improving our neighborhoods and communities."

Editorial: Leading the way to justice

Times Union - June 25, 2015

A new program in Albany will attempt to fast-track services to low-level offenders.

A New Approach that Unwinds the Drug Way & Produces Dramatic Reduction in Recidivism

The Huffington Post - April 8, 2015

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is transforming the national discussion about how to end the war on drugs and mass incarceration.

LEAD program turns drug bust into help, not jail

The Seattle Times - Jan. 2, 2013

Seattle's groundbreaking LEAD program diverts low-level drug dealers and users away from the criminal-justice system. At the police officer's discretion, some of those arrested are referred to social workers for immediate help — a hot meal, a safe place to sleep — and longer-term services such as drug treatment and job training.

Albany program would divert low-level criminals from jail

Times Union - June 25, 2015

Police officers would have the discretion to send low-level criminals to social services case managers, not jail, under a diversion program that city and county officials hope will stop clogging the court system with chronic offenders who need other forms of help.

Albany City, County Co-develop LEAD Program To Reduce Low-Level Arrests

WAMC Northeast Public Radio - June 25, 2015

The police-community dynamic is poised to make a dramatic shift in Albany, where the city and county announced a plan to reduce low-level arrests, recidivism, and racial disparities.

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Seattle program aims to break the habit of incarceration

The Seattle Times - Oct. 13, 2011

In 2011, a four-year pilot program in Seattle launches to find out if moving low-level drug dealers, addicts and prostitutes into treatment can break the cycle of arrest and incarceration.

What Happens When A City Decides to Offer Addicts Services, Not Prison Sentences?

The Nation - Oct. 15, 2014

Inspired by Seattle, Santa Fe adopts the LEAD program to divert people arrested for drug possession away from the criminal justice system and into treatment.

Drug diversion program working, says police, public defenders

KING5 - Sept. 24, 2014

Call it a progress report. ... City and county leaders came together to discuss whether the "LEAD" program is working. And the answer from the agencies taking part seemed to be a resounding "yes."

Change of Habit: How Seattle Cops Fought An Addiction To Locking Up Drug Users

The Huffington Post - Aug. 28, 2014

People who get arrested for the sale and possession of crack, heroin and other illegal drugs are no longer automatically thrown in jail and prosecuted. Instead, officers with the Seattle Police Department now have the option of giving these offenders a choice: leave the precinct the old-fashioned way, in handcuffs, or meet with a counselor at a social-service agency and avoid the court system altogether.

LEAD program for low-level drug criminals sees success

The Seattle Times - April 8, 2015

A real-world experiment that's played out on the streets of Belltown over the past three years is producing significant results by interrupting the cycle of arrest, prosecution and incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders.

SPD Officers Lead the County In Innovative Policing Approach

Seattle Police Officers Guild The Guardian - March 1, 2015

Seattle ... is the birthplace of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), a hopeful new approach to these issues that encourages policy-community reconciliation and partnership, and is being looked to around the country as the way forward in "public order" policing.

Low-level drug offenders find new source of addiction help

Associated Press - April 10, 2016

Albany’s efforts and others have been based on a highly touted Seattle program called Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD. Launched in 2011, it aims to keep people out of prison by focusing on those who use a disproportionate share of public resources by repeatedly getting arrested or seeking care at emergency rooms.

Seattle Attempt To Keep Addicts Out of Jail Shines in Study

The New York Times - April 8, 2015

"Organizers have had good feelings about the project since it launched in 2011, and a University of Washington study released Wednesday backed up their work: Participants were up to 60 percent less likely to be arrested than a control group, the evaluation found. The results are so encouraging that advocates say it should prompt reconsideration of President Barack Obama's call for an expansion of drug court programs and a hard look at replicating Seattle's effort nationwide, as some cities are doing."

Seattle Has Figured Out How to End the War on Drugs

New York Times

SEATTLE — On gritty streets where heroin, fentanyl and meth stride like Death Eaters, where for decades both drugs and the war on drugs have wrecked lives, the city of Seattle is pioneering a bold approach to narcotics that should be a model for America.

Lessons from Seattle: How this alternative to jail may be a solution for Utah

Deseret Sun - December 20, 2017

When it comes to helping heroin addicts on the street kick the habit, Seattle has come up with an innovative, albeit controversial approach.

Instead of sending low-level drug offenders to jail, police can refer suspects to LEAD, which provides them with intensive long-term case management and a chance to change their lives.

Jayapal brings a Seattle idea for fighting opioid crisis to D.C.

Crosscut - March 21, 2018

What was once a first-of-its-kind jail diversion program between Seattle police and local case workers may soon land on the desk of President Donald Trump, a man known more for his threats to execute drug dealers than his willingness to find new solutions to an out-of-control opioid epidemic.


But first-term Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is finding support on both sides of the aisle for funding the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program (LEAD) in the 2019 federal budget.

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