From SeattleTimes – By Sara Jean Green
The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program is a local experiment aimed at breaking the cycle of arrest and incarceration for low-level drug dealers, addicts and prostitutes. Completely funded by private foundations, the $950,000-a-year, four-year pilot program offers hand-picked participants individualized alternatives to arrest, from inpatient drug treatment and educational opportunities to housing assistance and microloans for would-be business owners.
Seven men were arrested for street-level drug crimes last month during a two-day buy-bust operation by Seattle police in Belltown.
Two of them caught a huge break.
Instead of being locked up, they were offered the first spots in a new program borne out of collective fatigue with the criminal-justice system’s approach to managing the low-level drug dealers, addicts and prostitutes who revolve through King County’s jails and courthouses.