LEAD Program to Be Expanded in Washington State
It is a well-known fact that when it comes to minor crimes, the offenders in question do not often need incarceration but perhaps a bit of mental health counseling and education. To that end, the lawmakers in the state of Washington in collaboration with the law enforcement agencies have decided to expand the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program across the state. The LEAD program is extremely progressive and is meant for criminals who have been caught for having committed low-level offenses like drug possession or prostitution among others. Rather than sending offenders to prison, they are instead sent to treatment centres.
The program is particularly meant for repeat offenders, who serve jail time but never really clean up their work and according to many experts, an intervention like LEAD can lead to genuine change. Roger Goodman, a Democratic representative, announced that the Washington state legislature had approved the grant program by way of which law enforcement agencies in any part of the state would be able to apply for a LEAD grant. Goodman said, “To intervene with people who have been arrested over and over again, who have either a mental health or substance abuse problem, but to intervene before we even arrest them.”
Lawmakers in the state of Washington voted heavily in favor of the bill since many believe that it could be the best way in which repeat offenders of low-level crimes can turn their lives around. Morgan Irwin, a Republican and a former policeman in Seattle, echoed the same thoughts. He said, “That’s the idea. How can we stop recidivism? How can we stop people who are just in a constant cycle of commit a crime, get incarcerated, come back out, have no resources, commit another crime get incarcerated?” Irwin went on to add that it is a measure that might not lead to a 100% record, but it does give people the opportunity to turn their life around after committing low-level crimes that could be best avoided for the rest of their lives.