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M1: Lessons learned in ten years of LEAD, in national and international contexts.

This presentation is currently scheduled for M1 (Day 1, Monday 22 March at 9:30 to 10:50 AM EST)


Lessons Learned in Ten Years of LEAD, in National and International Contexts:

An Incarceration Nations Network conversation featuring

Najja Morris (LEAD: USA), Nathan Dick (Revolving Doors: UK), Sasha Xolani Lalla (University of Pretoria: South Africa), Michael Wilson (Advance Access & Delivery: South Africa)

Moderated by Dr. Baz Dreisinger (John Jay College/Incarceration Nations Network: USA)

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is a US-based program that uses police diversion and community-based, trauma-informed care systems, with the goals of improving public safety and public order, and reducing law violations by people who participate in the program. In ten years the program has gone national and potentially international, having engaged with stakeholders in the UK and South Africa, among others. Learn more about how LEAD works, what challenges it has faced, and how it continues to evolve going forward. Speakers from the UK and South Africa will discuss the role and potential growth of LEAD-like diversion programs in their respective contexts.

Dr. Baz Dreisinger is a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the Executive Director of the Incarceration Nations Network (INN) and founder of the Prison-to-College Pipeline program, which offers college courses and reentry planning to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students. Prof. Dreisinger, a Global Fulbright Scholar and Fulbright Specialist, also writes for such publications as The New York Times and Forbes, and is the author of Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World and Near Black: White-to-Black Passing in American Culture.

Najja Morris is the LEAD National Support Bureau Director. In her current role, Najja is responsible for providing national technical assistance and support to jurisdictions in all phases of the implementation of local LEAD programs; focusing on the areas of harm reduction, case management and direct services. Najja also now coordinates local LEAD operations in Seattle’s East Precinct (the Central District, Capitol Hill and Little Saigon) and is exploring potential for LEAD expansion in South Seattle and adjacent areas of unincorporated King County (Skyway).

Prior to joining the LEAD National Support Bureau, Najja served as a Case Manager, then as Direct Services Supervisor, with the LEAD Pilot program in Seattle WA for 3 years. Najja has dedicated over 20 years working within the urban areas of Seattle with/on behalf of a wide array of marginalized and disenfranchised communities; including foster-care/homeless youth, those struggling with mental health and substance abuse, chronically ill/homeless and youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

Nathan Dick is the Head of Policy at Revolving Doors Agency in the UK, a national charity that exists to change systems and improve services for people facing multiple and severe disadvantage and stuck in the revolving door of crisis and crime.  His role is to have a positive impact on the way government and services work for people in the revolving door. In his early career he worked in the charity sector providing healthcare advocacy services in the community and prisons, after which he worked for Clinks championing the role of the voluntary sector in criminal justice, eventually heading up their policy and communications work. More recently he has worked for HM Inspectorate of Probation, the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Service supporting the reform of probation services.

Sasha Xolani Lalla is a Senior Research Assistant at the University of Pretoria, Department of Family Medicine, who are working in partnership with the local municipal government, City of Tshwane, Health, Drug and Substance Unit (DSA). The partnership has created a government program called COSUP (Community Oriented Substance Use Program). A program guided by the core principle of the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP), Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC), Harm Reduction and Demand Reduction.

Michael Wilson is the South Africa Country Director and co-founder of Advance Access & Delivery, a global health non-profit organization with offices in the United States and South Africa. Founded in 2014, AA&D support cities that are committed to expanding access to healthcare for vulnerable groups. Since 2018, Michael has served as acting consultant to the United Nations Office of Special (UNOPS), supporting countries to strengthen national tuberculosis and HIV programs. Michael holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina and has over a decade of experience managing and operating health programs that deliver healthcare to people in urban spaces poor, in particular to people who use drugs. Michael serves on the eThekwini District’s homeless committee, chaired by Deputy Mayor, Belinda Scott and currently manages a team of 15, focused care delivery for the homeless and urban poor in the Central Business District and outlying areas, with particular focus on TB, HIV, and treatment for drug use disorders. Michael co-manages Durban’s first comprehensive Harm Reduction Centre, which has recently been launched by the National Department of Social Development as a model for delivery of care for people who use drugs. In early 2020, Michael coordinated a 10 day, 3-city visit to South Africa by key members of the LEAD Support Bureau. Michael has developed close working relations with key members from Durban’s Metro Police and SAPS and recently sat on a daily JOC during Level 4 and Level 5 of lockdown which was coordinated by senior members of SAPS.

The Incarceration Nations Network (INN) is a global network and think tank that supports, instigates and popularizes innovative prison reform efforts around the world. INN has more than 100 partners across all continents.

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) uses police diversion and community-based, trauma-informed care systems, with the goals of improving public safety and public order, and reducing law violations by people who participate in the program.


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