Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is an effort by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and community partners to implement a diversion program that better responds to individuals in our community needing treatment and services due to drug addiction. LEAD is a pre-booking diversion program that allows officers to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug possession activity to community-based services instead of jail and prosecution. LEAD participants begin working immediately with case managers to access services. LEAD’s goals are to reduce the harm a drug offender causes him or herself, as well as the harm that the individual is causing the surrounding community. This public safety program has the potential to reduce recidivism rates for low-level offenders while also reducing the disproportionate number of persons of color being arrested and referred to the criminal justice system for these offenses. LEAD is currently set to launch in January 2017.
On Wednesday, August 31, 2016, District Attorney Rod Underhill spoke about the program. A recording of that speech was broadcast on KBOO.fm’s Prison Pipeline program on October 3, 2016.