(Chicago) – The first-ever National Pre-Arrest Diversion Conference will take place March 4-7, 2018, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
As a special guest speaker, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD will describe the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) commitment to early diversion from the criminal justice system to community treatment and recovery for people with mental and substance use disorders.
The conference is designed for teams of practitioners representing law enforcement, behavioral health, and community advocacy as they work together to prevent overdose deaths and divert people with substance use disorders and mental illnesses away from the front end of the justice system and into treatment instead. It will feature in-depth workshops and discussions on how jurisdictions can launch or enhance their pre-arrest diversion programs, and will offer subject matter experts and tools to help jurisdictions develop actionable implementation plans specific to their needs.
“Pre-arrest diversion is one of the fastest-growing and most important developments in both public health and criminal justice reform,” said Jac Charlier, national director for justice initiatives at the Center for Health and Justice at TASC. “There are about 800,000 law enforcement officers across the United States, and they come in contact with an estimated 68 million people each year, many of whom have substance use disorders and/or mental health challenges. Pre-arrest diversion gives law enforcement options to safely divert individuals to community-based behavioral health for treatment and recovery.”
The 2018 national conference is being convened by the Police, Treatment, and Community Collaborative, of which the Center for Health and Justice at TASC is a founding partner. The PTAC Collaborative provides national vision, leadership, voice, and action to reframe the relationship between law enforcement, treatment, and community.
“As pre-arrest diversion continues to rapidly grow, it has the potential to become the largest referral source to community treatment in the history of the justice system, thereby reshaping both the justice system as well as the treatment system,” Charlier wrote recently for the University of Pretrial.