What is Louisville Metro Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)?

August 22, 2018

What is LEAD?

LEAD is an is an innovative pre-booking, community-based program to divert individuals suspected of committing low-level drug-related offenses to case management and supportive services instead of jail and prosecution.

Why Louisville?

Since 2015, Louisville has been researching the LEAD program, including visiting Seattle, Washington where the program started to see how it operates there. In January 2017, the Bureau of Justice Assistance released funding opportunities, and the Metro Criminal Justice Commission applied for a grant. The city was awarded a $400,000 grant to start a pilot program.

How many people can this pilot help?

During this initial 18-month pilot program, there is capacity to work with 50 individuals. Partners also will be looking at options for continuing and expanding the program once the grant-funded pilot is completed.

Why is Louisville trying LEAD?

Public safety partners in Louisville have been impressed with Seattle’s innovative strategy. The pilot program here will seek to implement the Seattle model with fidelity and add to the national research being done on this diversion strategy.

Does LEAD work?

After three years of operation in Seattle, an independent outcome study found that LEAD participants were 58 percent less likely to be arrested after enrollment in the program, compared to a control group that went through “system as usual” criminal justice processing.

What is the different between the Living Room and LEAD?

The Living Room Model provides an emergency drop-off location for law enforcement in lieu of arrest. It is a voluntary crisis diversion and stabilization program for individuals with behavioral health and substance use disorders. Clients may stay for only up to 23 hours at the Living Room.
The LEAD Pilot provides an opportunity for law enforcement to divert strictly opioid-addicted individuals into a comprehensive harm reduction-focused treatment program with intensive case management and access to wrap-around services. Participants must meet eligibility criteria established by the prosecutors, voluntarily agree to treatment, and since paperwork is completed by the law enforcement officer may be returned for prosecution if non-compliant with participation requirements.
Since overlap between the two programs is possible, the LEAD research team will collaborate with the Living Room and LMPHW, as needed, to review data and account for any confounding variables in the LEAD project evaluation.

Why is the pilot in the Russell and Portland neighborhoods?

During the initial planning for this pilot, LMPD citation and arrest data was analyzed to include indicators for opiate drug possession. Based on that data, these two First Division neighborhoods were determined to be the most viable locations for the LEAD project.

Will only individuals with substance abuse involving opioids be selected for pre-arrest diversion into LEAD?

Individuals who use multiple substances can be referred into the LEAD pilot, however, opioids must be a primary driver of their substance use.

What is Harm Reduction?

A harm reduction framework requires a focus on individual and community wellness, rather than an exclusive focus on sobriety. Goals are tailored to address the participant’s drug activity and any other factors driving his/her problematic behavior – even if abstinence from drug use is not achieved. Harm reduction builds on long-term relationships with participants without employing coercion or shame.

What treatment/services will diverted individuals receive?

Volunteers of America will provide services that include intensive case management and the development of an individual intervention plan. The plan could include detox services, medication-assisted treatment, mental health services, help obtaining identification, housing, education, job training, and job placement. Intensive case management provides increased support and assistance in all aspects of the participant’s life.   

What happens if a diverted LEAD participant does not comply?

As long as the individual completes the initial assessment with the case manager within 72 hours of diversion, they are enrolled into LEAD. If they do not complete the assessment in that time frame, that individual will proceed with being charged with the crime for which they originally were stopped, and a slot will open up for another individual.

How many LEAD programs are currently in operation?

Twenty jurisdictions (in 11 states) are currently operating LEAD programs, with another 11 jurisdictions in process of launching LEAD in their communities.