Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)
What is LEAD?
Thurston County's LEAD Program focuses on community-based case management and alternatives to jail and prosecution.
The LEAD program allows participants, neighborhoods, community services, police, and prosecutors to work together to ensure that individuals who have unmet needs because of substance use, mental health issues, and/or extreme poverty receive the help they need to address problems they are facing. These programs are voluntary, and participants are supported in meeting their self-identified goals. LEAD and Recovery Navigator programs use a harm-reduction approach that focuses on dignity, honesty, and being non-judgmental.
Thurston County's LEAD program is administered by the Olympic Health & Recovery Services.
Learn more about the creation of LEAD programs from the LEAD National Support Bureau here.
Who can be referred to LEAD?
Individuals can be referred to the LEAD Program if they are:
- 18 years or older.
- In frequent contact with, or at risk for frequent contact with law enforcement.
- Experiencing substance use, mental health issues, or extreme poverty.
- Not currently incarcerated.
Law enforcement officers can refer, or community members can refer through social contact referrals.
What does success look like for LEAD Program participants?
Success looks different for every participant. Our LEAD team is here to meet participants where they are and support their success, both big and small! Here are some examples:
- One individual found housing, employment, and enrolled in community college.
- Family members were able to secure apartments next to each other, allowing them to keep their dogs. Participants are now engaging in substance use disorder treatment and finding employment.
- A family was living in their car and didn't qualify for a lot of traditional services. They were able to find an apartment and are doing well.
- A program participant and their child were able to get into an apartment and the parent was able to find a job.
- Several individuals have completed treatment and are now residing in recovery housing.
- Several individuals with significant criminal histories have been supported in moving from various camps to permanent housing.
- Multiple participants are now working, growing in recovery, and have signed up for Certified Peer Counselor classes.
What are LEAD participants saying?
- “I’ve never received help like this in the past.” “I don’t have to feel like I’m alone.”
- “This program has saved my life.”
- “You guys seem like you really care. I’ve been in programs in the past and the counselors act like it’s just their job but you guys really care.”
- “I never had anyone to help me get my benefits before.” “I’m surprised you showed up so quickly.”
- “Thank you for helping me out. It’s cool being fresh out of prison and getting some help.”
- “I didn’t believe I was going to come out and get a job but getting a job today really gives me hope.”
- “I owe my life to you all and this has saved my life.”