The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to expand the county’s Office of Diversion and Reentry LEAD (law-enforcement assisted diversion) program.
The action comes after a pilot program, launched last year, demonstrated a significant reduction in arrests and homelessness.
LEAD programs reduce recidivism, increase public safety and reduce homelessness by giving law-enforcement agencies tools to engage with people who have committed low-level offenses and offer them access to housing, mental health care, substance abuse treatment and supportive services in lieu of arrest.
Ten months ago, the Office of Diversion and Reentry launched a pilot LEAD program in the Long Beach/South LA area. So far, 109 participants have enrolled, 83 percent of whom were homeless at the time they entered the program. Forty-two of those individuals have since moved into interim housing, inpatient substance use treatment programs, or permanent housing.
“The county’s LEAD pilot program has demonstrated how smart and targeted interventions can reduce incarceration and homelessness,” said
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, author of the motion.
“For many people, the LEAD program can end the revolving door from jail to homelessness and back to reincarceration,” she said. “It is exactly the type of long-term solution we need to expand so we can reduce the number of people on our streets and in our jails.”
“By working on multiple fronts to prioritize rehabilitation over incarceration, LA County is a national leader in criminal justice reform,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, who co-authored the motion.
“The LEAD program provides expansive tools to engage and help the justice-involved population,” she said. “The expansion of the LEAD program directly addresses the causes of crime and elevates the broader needs of the individual, the family, and the community.”
LA County’s LEAD program pilot is one of several pilots developed by the Office of Diversion and Reentry since 2015 when it was established.