Background & Approach
Bernalillo County is the most populous county in New Mexico and contains the state’s largest city, Albuquerque. Bernalillo County implemented a public safety diversion program to help non-violent adults with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders avoid the criminal justice system and instead access community-based alternatives. Bernalillo County offers both a law enforcement diversion referral program and a social referral program. The first is called Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program (LEAD), and the social referral program is called Let Everyone Advance with Dignity (LEAD). LEAD aims to reduce the harm that individuals cause to themselves and their communities in order to sustain their addictions or because of challenges they are experiencing due to a mental health issue. Both law enforcement and community referrals result in case management for qualifying individuals, which connects them to services such as housing, medical services, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, vocational training, obtaining identification cards, and legal services.
Bernalillo County continues to engage with the Safety and Justice Challenge Network to rethink and redesign its criminal justice system so that it is more fair, just, and equitable for all.