What is LEAD?
Systems change for better public safety
Of all people booked into jail in the United States have a mental illness or problematic substance use.
Of people in jail are held for low-level misdemeanors or infractions.
Jail makes things worse
Studies show that spending even brief periods in jail can make it more difficult for a person to keep or find a job or housing while also increasing the likelihood of future incarceration.
Seattle · King County LEAD – Case Management Team Members
- Business Representatives
- Civil rights advocates
- Community members
- Community-based service providers
- Elected officials
- Public Defenders
- Public Health & Safety Agencies
Advance Racial Equity
LEAD seeks to shift discriminatory policies, systems, and decision-making through changes in policies, practices, beliefs, and investments. Its impact has the capacity to be widespread.
do what works
No one – no matter their role or status – can be worse off for participation in LEAD.
By providing coordinated, long-term, participant-driven care, the LEAD model offers an effective strategy to address the underlying, persistent factors driving ongoing unlawful or disruptive conduct that stems from complex behavioral conditions.
Take harm seriously
LEAD also recognizes the harmful failure of many systems to meet the people’s legitimate needs – for quality education, housing, health care, financial resources and physical safety – and recognizes the harm experienced by people unnecessarily pulled into punitive systems.
Whether it’s the distressing evidence of human suffering on our streets, the disruptions and fear caused by public disorder, or the harm caused by our criminal legal system: harm must not be ignored or minimized.
What Makes LEAD Different
- LEAD is not a program – it increases public safety by creating a new system of collective response.
- LEAD is not a short-term crisis response – it offers ongoing case coordination.
- LEAD isn’t operated by the courts – it’s a community-based collaborative.
- LEAD’s commitment to harm reduction doesn’t mandate treatment or recovery.
- LEAD serves one specific population – people whose frequent unlawful or problematic conduct stems from unmet behavioral health needs.
- LEAD case management isn’t office-based – it meets people where they’re at.