The LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) Program is part of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition. It was first implemented in 2011 in Seattle, WA as a response to a growing call for a new approach to low-level offenses and diversion from the criminal justice system. This innovative approach uses a harm-reduction model that includes providing individuals with an alternative to incarceration with access to substance use treatment and other social services through case management. The Jacksonville Police Department established a LEAD program in November 2020, and partners with Onslow County EMS to provide case-management services to individuals through the COSSUP peer navigator program. Participants are linked to substance use treatment and recovery support services. In 2021, 80% of LEAD participants successfully completed the program and had their charges dismissed.
Agencies meet to sign the OCSJP agreement
As part of an agreement established as the Onslow County Schools- Justice Partnership (OCSJP), the Juvenile Diversion Program utilizes alternative support services to reduce juvenile involvement with the criminal justice system. When considering referral to the courts, efforts are made to utilize Teen Court as a diversion option. A multi-tiered support system allows professionals at each level of intervention to understand the options available to address youth misconduct and implement appropriate resources to assist juveniles in treatment.