Seattle’s success with diversion programs

The Associated Press reported yesterday about success Seattle has had with a jail diversion program called LEAD:

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion [is] aimed at keeping low-level drug offenders and prostitutes out of jail — and in housing, counseling, job training or whatever other services they need. Unlike with many drug courts or other programs, participants aren’t threatened with jail time or with being kicked out if they relapse.

According to the report, other cities are on track with diversion as well. “San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston and Portland, Maine, have expressed interest, and one of the backers of Seattle’s effort, billionaire George Soros‘ Open Society Foundations, announced last week that it would give five jurisdictions grants of $150,000 to help them copy it,” the AP report says.

In February, the MacArthur Foundation requested proposals for sentencing alternatives as well. Also last month, Tamar Kraft-Stolar of the Correctional Association of New York released her eye-opening report on prison conditions for women.

We are moving in the right direction, country: Less jails, more treatment.

Featured image by Daniel Schwen (Own work) [ CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0) ], via Wikimedia Commons

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