Frequently Asked Questions

What is LEAD®?

LEAD® is a public safety program. It allows law enforcement to redirect persons suspected of involvement in non-violent low level crimes associated with problematic drug use, such as shoplifting or possession of paraphernalia to community-based services instead of jail and prosecution. LEAD is NOT a confidential informant program for law enforcement. Law enforcement officers are prohibited from asking LEAD clients for confidential or source information.

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How does a person get into LEAD®?

LEAD participants must be referred into the program by a law enforcement officer, either at the point of arrest OR law enforcement may refer an individual whom they believe is at high risk for low level non-violent crime. A person cannot self-refer into the program, nor can a family member or friend refer a person into the program.

What services are offered?

Each client has a case manager who coordinates care as needed. Key components of LEAD are intensive case management, individual intervention plans, and comprehensive services including treatment, education, and job skills training, with a harm reduction framework. Harm reduction is a set of strategies that aim to reduce the harm of problematic drug use to a client’s health and wellbeing.

What is expected of a client?

LEAD is based on a harm reduction philosophy. Clients are not penalized or denied services if they do not achieve abstinence or follow a prescribed plan. They work at their own pace. Participants may have little engagement initially, only to engage later. Others may become involved right away and as their lives change and their goals are met, their involvement in the program becomes less. However, clients are on pre-determined criteria at the discretion of the District Attorney’s Office.

How does a person graduate?

There are no pre-established or firm guidelines for what constitutes program completion. The goal is to maintain participants in services until they are capable of prepared to transition out.

What is the purpose of the program?

The primary purpose of LEAD is to reduce crime and change lives. LEAD provides a way for law enforcement to help communities respond to public order issues using a public health approach. The program reduced reliance on the criminal justice system to address human service needs, such as addiction, untreated mental illness or homelessness.

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