Deflection and Diversion Summit Draws Participants from across North Carolina

four people at a table giving in presentation. Behind them is a screen that says "Convening on Deflection and Pre-Arrest Diversion"

This month, we were grateful for the opportunity to co-sponsor a Convening on Deflection and Pre-Arrest Diversion with the North Carolina Governor’s office and the North Carolina Department of Justice. This summit brought together policy makers, behavioral health practitioners, law enforcement officers and other stakeholders across the state to discuss ways to implement and improve programs that divert people who use drugs or people with substance use disorder away from the criminal legal system and incarceration and into treatment or community support programs.

Behavioral Health Core Faculty Member Dr. Allison Gilbert presented on the Center’s evaluation of Law-Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) programs. She and Policy Director Angie Weis Gammell also spoke on a panel with Durham District Attorney Satana Deberry and Fayetteville Police Sergeant Jamaal Littlejohn about ways to improve racial equity in diversion programs. “Ideally, we want diversion programs to enhance racial equity in an inequitable system, but at the very least, we have to make sure they aren’t exacerbating racial inequities,” said Weis Gammell.

Other sessions featured representatives from deflection and diversion programs across the state, the changing landscape of funding for behavioral health initiatives, and discussions on how to start a diversion program. Slides from selected presentations are below: