Deflection/Diversion: preventing future justice contact. Have your say, join us for the Diversion Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting as part of LEPH2019.


Meeting: 11 – 12.30pm, Sunday October 20


A new field of practice at the intersection of law enforcement and treatment, housing, and services is emerging globally. Called by a variety of terms including deflection and pre-arrest diversion, this field seeks to connect people to drug and mental health treatment, housing, and services without use or fear of arrest, and without waiting for a crisis situation. In this way, Deflection and Diversion strategies recognize that early interventions, prior to a crisis and before an arrest becomes necessary, are preventive in nature today to prevent future justice contact tomorrow. 

In addition, pre-arrest and pre-crisis contact will also yield greater access to treatment likely resulting in greater well-being for a person. Deflection and Diversion recognize that law enforcement encounters more people in need of these services than most other institutions, governmental and non-governmental alike. As such, law enforcement (and other first responders such as fire and EMS) become the largest referral source to treatment in the history of our globe. From this then the desire to grow this newly emerging field is paramount to addressing both safety and health issues. For example, in the United States, the Police, Treatment, and Community Collaborative (PTACC) serves as a voice of the Deflection and Pre-Arrest Diversion field, and in the UK, there has been a national scheme of ‘arrest referral’ in place for 20 years, more recently refocused as ‘liaison and diversion schemes’

The establishment of a Deflection and Diversion Special Interest Group of GLEPHA will help promote this approach. This SIG would examine where Deflection and Diversion is occurring, and what different approaches there are. What is needed to make it work sustainably? How does it impact police and community relations? How does it change access to treatment? How does it improve public safety? What is the way forward in resource-poor settings where community-based services and treatment is inadequate or absent?

This meeting will examine the feasibility of establishing, under the LEPH umbrella, a Special Interest Group on Deflection/Diversion.

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