Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $416,000)
The County of Bernalillo proposes to sustain and expand the established Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. LEAD is an evidence-based harm reduction model aimed at increasing public safety and reducing recidivism through collaboration and partnerships across the public health, behavioral health, and criminal justice sectors. The model leverages a share commitment and the combined expertise of each of these disciplines to identify, respond to, treat, and support those impacted by illicit opioids, stimulants, and other drugs of use and misuse through pre-arrest programing for individuals who commit low level, non-violent, drug related offenses. Law enforcement officers and community partners are trained in LEAD evidence-based practices and local protocols which include pre-arrest diversion referrals and social contact referrals. Law enforcement officers exercise discretionary authority at the point of contact to divert individuals toward harm-reduction interventions facilitated through intensive case management for low-level criminal offenses driven by unmet behavioral health needs and substance use disorders. Similarly, social contact referrals can be made by law enforcement officers, community partners, community members or by an individuals seeking LEAD services as long as the individual being referred meets the basic LEAD eligibility criteria. Through established partnerships prosecutors, public defenders, and law enforcement officers work closely with the LEAD case management team to ensure a coordinated approach for achieving behavioral change. The four key areas of programmatic focus are promoting public safety and supporting access to recovery services in the criminal justice system; strengthening the collection and sharing of data across systems to understand and address the impact of illicit substance use and misuse; align and maximize resources across systems and leverage diverse program funding; and prevent substance use and misuse. LEAD and other programs overseen by the county and its numerous partners are aimed at reducing recidivism rates and reducing the jail population at Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), which has an average daily jail population of 1,500 individuals. This proposed project funding continues and expands the LEAD program which is demonstrating an increase in diversions, expansion in community and law enforcement education and referral, and sustained community investment in LEAD programming.