The Wall Street Journal today profiled Baltimore’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, which seeks to divert low-level drug offenders to treatment and other support services and away from arrest. OSI-Baltimore is the primary funder of the program, working in collaboration with the Baltimore Police Department, the State’s Attorney’s Office, and Behavioral Health System Baltimore, as announced in late 2015,
The pilot program, modeled on the LEAD program in Seattle, will launch on a limited basis in the coming weeks and is expected to include at least 60 participants in its first year. Only those suspected of low-level drug or prostitution crimes will be eligible for LEAD.
Many are hoping the Baltimore LEAD program will be an important example for the rest of the country. As Jim Bueermann, president of the nonpartisan Police Foundation in Washington, D.C. said in the Wall Street Journal story, “If it works there, you’re going to see people say, ‘If it worked in Baltimore, it can work here,’ because the challenges in Baltimore are so much greater than in other places.”