Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $6,000,000)
The State of NJ, Department of Law & Public Safety, Office of the Attorney General (“DL&PS”) is applying for funding in the amount of $6,000,000 to establish Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program (LEAD) Programs in six areas of the State. To date, DL&PS’s primary initiative to connect individuals struggling with substance use issues to treatment has been led by law enforcement. Now, as part of Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s ongoing efforts to reform policing and build community trust in law enforcement, DL&PS would like to explore a new way of doing this work that centers on the non-coercive, public health-focused LEAD model of responding to crimes driven, in part, by addiction. LEAD involves giving law enforcement the discretion to divert people whose low-level unlawful conduct stems, in part, from addiction into long-term, community-based harm reduction case management. In LEAD, an officer who becomes aware of an individual who has disproportionate contact with the criminal legal system may call LEAD case management to meet the individual and invite him/her to opt into LEAD, rather than arresting him/her. If the individual opts into LEAD, he/she is provided with the services he/she needs, which may include access to medication-assisted therapy, health and safety resources, food, housing, legal advocacy, and job training. The officer is invited, but not required, to attend the regular meetings of the ongoing working group to follow the progress of diverted individuals. LEAD represents an opportunity to bring about a cultural shift in law enforcement by reorienting NJ’s systemic response to crimes driven by substance use disorder.
During the planning phase, DL&PS will contract with a consultant for support, training, and technical assistance; hire a Project Coordinator to ensure that performance measures, deliverables, and reporting requirements are satisfied; work with public safety and public health entities on data collection needs; use a data-driven approach to identify six areas where LEAD would best be implemented; procure an academic partner to assist in developing data collection guidelines, oversee site data collection, and evaluate the programs; and make funding available to subrecipients to implement LEAD in six identified areas. DL&PS will consider prioritizing program sites in regions that have been disproportionately impacted by the addiction crisis.
During the implementation phase, each subrecipient will plan and implement LEAD. DL&PS will work with each subrecipient, in conjunction with a consultant and partners, to ensure that each program design follows the LEAD model.