The 2020 LEAD Year 2 Program Evaluation Report has been released!

This report includes background information on the program, the evaluation approach, and program implementation and presents outcomes and impacts for the second year of the LEAD program, and was prepared by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa LEAD Program Evaluation Team with important contributions from the LEAD Honolulu Hui.


Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is a community-based diversion program for people whose criminal activity is due to behavioral health issues. LEAD is a pre-arrest diversion program. In LEAD, low- level offenders are diverted from arrest by law enforcement by immediate referral to harm reduction based, individualized case management.  
LEAD was intended to demonstrate that non-coercive and non-punitive approaches to currently illegal activities such as drug use and other activities that individuals engage in to obtain funds to purchase drugs (e.g. car prowls, mail theft, prostitution, shoplifting) can be more effectively and humanely addressed outside of the criminal justice system.
LEAD offers individualized case management services. The types of services accessed are entirely determined by individual participants and their case manager. As noted the only requirement for being in LEAD is to complete an intake assessment within a specified period of time. After that the individual is free to walk away without repercussion.
Referrals are also made through “social contact” with law enforcement or other community members.




The purpose of LEAD is to improve public health and public safety by addressing the social and behavioral factors that contribute to the cycle of incarceration. LEAD's goals is to provide law enforcement with more tools to address the complex issues of homelessness, substance use and mental health facing our community. Those who participate in LEAD are linked to housing, substance abuse, mental health, and other services through intensive case management.


The pilot project started in 2011 in King County (Seattle, Washington)http://leadkingcounty.org/ LEAD was heavily evaluated by the University of Washington - http://leadkingcounty.org/lead-evaluation/.  


  • People in LEAD were 58% less likely to be arrested after being in LEAD when compared to those processed through the criminal justice system as usual.

  • 82% were homeless prior to participation and 40% were housed

  • 55% received drug treatment through LEAD

  • Program cost is less than system-as-usual processing, and costs can fall further (now about $350/month per participant)

Participants who participated in Seattle LEAD:

  • Received basic need support (Food or Clothing)                                90%


Set and achieved a case management goal while in LEAD:

  • Completed individualized goal plan and achieved at least one       84%

  • Received chemical dependency treatment                                          55%

  • Engaged in mental health treatment                                                    49%

  • Received non-urgent medical care (not in ER)                                     55%

  • Received legal assistance                                                                        64%

  • Received assistance with public benefits                                             61%

  • Received assistance with ID                                                                    54%

There over 35 jurisdictions are exploring or already implementing LEAD, including Honolulu.


In areas where LEAD has been effectively launched, the following stakeholders will part of the coordinating policy group:

  • Office of Mayor

  • City Council

  • City Attorney

  • Prosecuting Attorney

  • HPD

  • Sheriff

  • PSD

  • Police commission

  • ACLU

  • Community members​ 



ACLU – Hawai'i Chapter
ALEA Bridge
CARE Hawai'i
City and County of Honolulu
Community Alliance on Prisons
Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i
Harm Reduction Hawai'i
Harm Reduction Services Branch,
   Hawai'i State Dept. of Health

Hawai'i Appleseed

Hawai'i Health & Harm Reduction Center
Hawai'i Substance Abuse Coalition
​Helping Hands Hawai'i
Hina Mauka
Honolulu Police Department
​Institute for Human Services
Ku Aloha ola Mau

Mental Health America of Hawai'i

Partners in Care
State Office of the Public Defender
The Salvation Army ATS-FTS
Susannah Wesley Community Center
UH Office of Public Health Studies
We are Oceania
Waikiki Health

Join our hui! Contact David at dshaku@hhhrc.org or call (808) 521-2437.

December 1, 2020 | 6:00 to 7:30pm | Live via Zoom
World AIDS Day is recognized around the globe as a day to take action, fight prejudice, and raise awareness about the fight against AIDS.  Please join us via Zoom to gather as a community to honor those lost around the world as well as here in Hawai'i, and celebrate Dr. David McEwan, the 2020 Suzanne Richmond-Crum Award recipient presented by the Hawai’i State Department of Health.
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