Diversion away from the criminal legal system is an essential option for first responders – but diverting people from arrest is only one of the three doors into LEAD services & care coordination.
Even in communities that have developed an array of first responders options – police officers, crisis intervention teams, co-responder programs, or non-police alternatives – the question often remains: after the first response, what do we do next? (This is often phrased as “divert to what?”)
Regardless of which “front door” is used, a large percentage of people traditionally and futilely pulled into the criminal legal system need a substantial second response: sustained care, development of a participant-focused, Harm reduction is a theory and practice that aims to reduce the level of harm (for oneself and for a larger community) t… More care plan, and cross-system coordination with the multiple entities that intersect with the individual.
With LEAD, community stakeholders – officers, health agencies, community-based service providers, elected and appointed officials, advocacy groups, businesses, and interested residents – work together to build an effective, coordinated “second response,” one that reorganizes existing pieces and adds others to identify and address the needs of people whose persistently disruptive or unlawful conduct stems from unmet behavioral health needs or poverty.
This is why LEAD can serve as a universally accessible and valuable “second response,” regardless of what the first response landscape looks like in a particular community.
Further, LEAD provides an ongoing framework to coordinate with legal system partners and others who often have other involvement LEAD participants; this regular, multidisciplinary coordination reduces the chance that the left hand will undo the progress the right hand has labored to achieve.