Press Advisory: City and County of Albany's Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program Will Launch April 1st

For Immediate Release

March 30, 2016

Contact:  

Albany Police Department: Steven Smith (518) 889-9446

Center for Law and Justice: Dr. Green (518) 427-8361

LEAD National Support Bureau: gabriel sayegh (646) 335-2264

 

City and County of Albany’s Innovative Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program Will Launch April 1st

Albany Medical Center Announces Innovative Investment of New York State DSRIP Medicaid Funds to Support Case Management  

LEAD Community Leadership Team Forms To Provide Ongoing Community Input into the Program 

Albany – Tomorrow, city and county officials and community leaders will gather at the Center for Law and Justice to mark the historic launch of the first phase of Albany’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program as of April 1st. Representatives from law enforcement, public defense, human service agencies, business, community groups and public health have been working on the planning and development of the program for nearly two years.

The innovative program designed to reduce low-level arrests, racial disparities and recidivism includes the support of Albany Medical Center, which will invest DSRIP funds to jumpstart the program’s initial case management services. DSRIP, or Delivery Service Reform Incentive Payment, is the main mechanism by which New York State is implementing Medicaid redesign. Albany Medical Center’s investment in LEAD is a unique example of alignment and coordination between the healthcare system and the criminal justice system, two systems that are often working at cross purposes despite sharing populations that frequently overlap.

Community members will also announce the formation of the LEAD Community Leadership Team, a group that will set up regular community sessions, educate the broader community about LEAD, answer questions, and be a mechanism for ongoing communication and input between community members and program actors.

What: Press conference: Albany City and County Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program Will Launch First Phase as of April 1

Who:

  • Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan
  • Albany Police Department, Chief Brendan Cox
  • Albany District Attorney David Soares
  •  Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy
  • Albany County Sheriff, Craig Apple
  • The Center for Law and Justice, Dr. Alice Green
  • Central Avenue Business Improvement District, Anthony Capece
  • Albany Medical Center, Dr. George Clifford, PhD
  • Catholic Charities Care Coordination Services, Keith Brown
  • The Albany LEAD Community Leadership Team, Representatives
  • LEAD National Support Bureau, gabriel sayegh

When: Thursday, March 31, 10:30 AM

Where: The Center for Law and Justice: 220 Green Street, Albany, NY 12202

In the LEAD program, instead of making an arrest, police officers exercise their discretion to divert individuals for certain criminal offenses (including low-level drug charges) directly to a case manager, who then facilitates access to a comprehensive network of services. Instead of entering the maze of the criminal justice system, the individual receives intensive, harm reduction case management and targeted social services with greater coordination among the systems that they touch.

Historically, a relatively small number of individuals in Albany with high needs demand a great deal of police time and resources. They cycle in and out of jail or prisons without treatment of their underlying issues, such as mental illness and substance use problems, homelessness, unemployment, and inadequate medical care. This is also the same population who tends to be high utilizers of the emergency care room, which is costly and is not designed to provide preventative or regular health care. LEAD focuses on addressing some of those underlying problems and stopping the cycle of costly and ineffective arrests and incarceration.

LEAD was launched in Seattle in 2011. A recent evaluation found that that the Seattle program saw a reduction of recidivism by 58% when compared to people going through the criminal justice system as-usual.

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