Author ORCID Identifier

Kay Levine 0000-0002-9422-232X

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Publication Date



Deflection programs, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, Angel Program, Houston Emergency Opioid Engagement System, Policing Alternatives and Diversion, Substance abuse, Voluntary enrollment, Team-based approach, Pro-reform prosecutors


The argument unfolds as follows. In Part I, we describe the origins and operation of deflection programs that currently exist in the United States and present the published empirical evidence about their effect on recidivism rates, as well as police and user population responses to them. We specifically discuss the LEAD template from Seattle, in addition to other models in Massachusetts and Texas. In Part II, we take a closer look at how conventional policing differs from the pre-arrest diversion program that was recently instituted in Atlanta. Using data from an original dataset of all 2012 felony drug arrests in Atlanta, we contrast the conventional approach to handling drug possession cases to the pre-arrest diversion approach and speculate about the savings that might have accrued had pre-arrest diversion been implemented years earlier. In Part III, we argue that prosecutors ought to become participants in and champions of county-wide deflection partnerships. As New Jersey's Burlington County Prosecutor's Office is the national leader in this effort, features of the Burlington program appear prominently in this discussion. We conclude on a comparative note, assessing how deflection measures up against conventional prosecution, diversion, and non-prosecution of substance users.

First Page


Publication Title

Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law