Replicating the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Model in Staten Island
Special Projects Fund
October 17, 2016
LEAD is an evidence-based, harm reduction-oriented program designed to reduce low-level arrests and recidivism and promote better health outcomes.
Instead of making an arrest for certain criminal offenses (such as low-level drug charges), police officers, prosecutors, and defense attorneys work together to divert individuals directly to a case manager, who then facilitates access to a comprehensive network of services for drug addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, and other health-related issues. These individuals receive intensive case management and targeted social services, with greater coordination among systems of care. In 2014, the City of Albany, with NYSHealth support, launched its own LEAD program, making it the first jurisdiction on the East Coast and only the third in the nation with this program. In 2016, NYSHealth awarded a grant to the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice (Katal), to help replicate LEAD on Staten Island, which has been struggling with its own devastating opioid epidemic.
Under this grant, Katal convened government agencies, policymakers, private funders, and other stakeholders, providing them with technical assistance and facilitative leadership to establish LEAD planning teams on Staten Island. Katal built an action toolkit on how to develop LEAD that is specific to Staten Island’s own needs and conditions. Katal offered guidance to the LEAD planning teams on evaluation design and ensured that the program is operating with fidelity to LEAD core principles. Lastly, Katal facilitated peer-to-peer guidance and developed strategies for collaboration among police officers, prosecutors, service providers, community public safety leaders, and case managers to familiarize them with the concept of diversion and the LEAD model and protocol.