Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,199,114)
In response to the ongoing public safety and health effects of substance use disorder, untreated mental health issues, and homelessness on our communities, the Kane County State's Attorney has indicated a desire to establish a pre-arrest diversion initiative based on the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) model. The LEAD model seeks to reduce the harms to self and community caused by these issues through the creation of a system that provides access to necessary care outside of the criminal legal system. The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office has begun establishing relationships with community-based agencies and mental health service providers throughout Kane County, in addition to an early collaboration with the Elgin Police Department, which has created a Collaborative Crisis Services Unit (CCSU) in part to participate in pre-arrest diversion. Elgin contains three high poverty census tracts, making it a priority area to provide an alternative to the potential harms involved in going through the criminal legal system. The Kane County Sheriff is prepared to join the initiative when it expands beyond Elgin, and the long-term goal is for additional municipal police departments to participate. Funding for this project would allow the State’s Attorney’s Office to hire necessary staff, as well as secure operations funds, service dollars, training and technical assistance, and cover the costs associated with project evaluation to stabilize the first three years of development, implementation, and expansion. Objectives of LEAD model pre-arrest diversion are to: improve public safety, reduce the number of people entering the criminal legal system, eliminate racial disparities in the system, create sustainability by reinvesting systems savings, and improve police-community relations. The core activity is effective, harm-reduction, non-coercive case management of participants. In this model, case managers meet participants where they are and work to establish a trusting relationship and connect participants with necessary wraparound services. This model relies on well-established and ongoing collaboration between a broad spectrum of partners. To that end, collaboration between case managers, law enforcement, and service providers to ensure participant success is overseen by the Project Manager; while the Community Engagement Coordinator ensures ongoing success and effectiveness through collaboration with service agency directors, elected officials, and community leaders. Evaluations of the LEAD model have demonstrated a dramatic reduction in recidivism for participants as well as significant system cost savings. Attaining this funding will help us to follow the model with fidelity and achieve the same positive outcomes in Kane County.