SAO Collaborates on Successful Low Level Diversion Program (2022)

Video Edition Updated

Office of the State’s Attorney for Howard County (Ellicott City, MD)

Population: 330,000 | Number of Full-Time Prosecutors: 45 | Contact Information

The Office of the State’s Attorney for Howard County Maryland (OSAHC) has partnered with local law enforcement, the Public Defender’s Office and County and State authorities to  develop a post arrest, pre-charging Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program (LEAD) that addresses a variety of criminogenic needs in an effort to reduce convictions for low level offenders.

The program has an added benefit of service coordinators who respond to the field, in order to relieve law enforcement, who can return to policework instead of spending additional time on arrest and booking for these low level offenses.  Screening for eligibility is conducted by a multidisciplinary team, with prosecutorial oversight to ensure that those selected are appropriate candidates.  There is also a community board that meets every other month to provide input and help shape the supportive services.  Once selected, LEAD offers participants an opportunity to access community resources, including physical, mental and substance use treatment, housing, education, and employment support.