City and County of Albany to Develop Innovative, Evidence-based Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program to Reduce Low-Level Arrests, Recidivism, and Racial Disparities

Press Release June 23, 2015
Media Contact

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Contact:</h2>
<p>Albany Police Department: Steven Smith (518) 889-9446<br />
Drug Policy Alliance: gabriel sayegh (646) 335-2264</p>

Albany – Tomorrow, city and county officials and community leaders will gather at the Albany Police Department Headquarters to announce that the City and County of Albany will develop an innovative program to reduce low-level arrests, racial disparities and recidivism. The program is known as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD. Under LEAD, instead of making an arrest police officers exercise their discretion to divert individuals for certain criminal offenses (including low-level drug charges) to a case manager, who then facilitates access to a comprehensive network of services. Instead of entering the maze of the criminal justice system, the individual receives intensive case management and targeted social services.

What: Press conference: Albany City and County to develop Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program, an innovative approach to reduce low-level arrests and recidivism by connecting people to social services

Who:

When: Thursday, June 25, 10:30 AM

Where: Albany Police Department Headquarters, 165 Henry Johnson Blvd.

Over the last year, government and community stakeholders in Albany have met regularly to explore the feasibility for developing a LEAD program in Albany. Today, the group — which includes representatives from law enforcement, public defenders, human service agencies, business leaders, community groups and public health — announced that they had signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate in developing the program.

Historically, a relatively small number of individuals in Albany with high needs demand a great deal of police time and resources. They cycle in and out of jail or prisons without ever having their underlying issues — such as untreated mental health and substance use problems, housing, employment, medical needs –addressed. LEAD focuses on addressing some of those underlying problems and stopping the cycle of costly and ineffective arrests and incarceration. Under LEAD, police officers will identify people charged with low-level criminal offenses; but before arrest, instead of booking them into jail, the officers link the individual to a waiting case manager.

The City and County will also announce that it has been selected to attend a national convening about LEAD being co-hosted by the White House in early July.

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