What is the New Haven LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) Program?
In November 2017, the City of New Haven launched a pilot version of a pre-booking diversion program known as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD). The LEAD model, originating in Seattle, aims to reduce criminal legal system involvement for individuals who commit - or are at risk of committing - certain low-level offenses. LEAD may be offered case management and social services instead of being arrested. The overall goal is harm reduction for the participant, their families and the community.
What is the LEAD National Support Bureau?
The LEAD National Support Bureau is a project of the Public Defender Association (PDA), based in Seattle, WA. PDA acknowledges its partnership with the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice in the launch of the Bureau in 2016. The Bureau draws on the expertise of prosecutors, police, case managers and community public safety leaders who are now using LEAD on the ground, and are willing to share lessons learned with their peers around the country. They describe Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) programs as "community-based diversion approach with the goals of improving public safety and public order, and reducing unnecessary justice system involvement of people who participate in the program."
People are not actually being diverted from arrest. Only 2 people have been referred to LEAD instead of arrest. A majority entered through “social contact” by the police. Rather than diversion from criminal justice, New Haven is increasing police contact with citizens by giving them the additional job of being street outreach social workers.
No services are provided through LEAD other than access to New Haven’s already inadequate resources. No more units of housing have been created, no more shelter beds or drug treatment beds. Participants access the same resources, but in a program where they are tracked by the police and prosecutors.
The City agreed to involve the community in the program's design and management. To date, the City has failed to involve potential LEAD participants in planning and has been unable to demonstrate that LEAD is reducing harms associated with engagement with the criminal justice system. This website aims to makes information about the history, funding, and operations of the program publically accessible.
The City of New Haven is not implementing LEAD with fidelity to what it was originally stated to do (harm reduction, etc.). Does this program do what it is supposed to do according to LEAD programming?
Appropriateness of Fit to New Haven
When we talk about the social services not being adequate, what are people meaningfully being connected to? What is New Haven’s capacity for implementing this program?
This site is maintained by the Global Health Justice Partnership in collaboration with the Sex Workers and Allies Network
At present the online New Haven LEAD dashboard is hosted here: https://veoci.com/veoci/p/dashboard/h2567kvepg
This dashboard reports only active LEAD cases and does not reflect cumulative numbers of people who have ever been in NHV LEAD. It serves as a location where LEAD Policy Working Group meeting minutes are stored, and includes information about active Opt-In Participants by Neighborhood at Point of Contact, Active LEAD Cases by Referral at Point of Contact, Active LEAD Cases by Gender, Active LEAD Cases by Ethnicity, Active LEAD Cases by Race, and a glossary of terms relevant to the LEAD Program.