PAD works to reduce arrest and incarceration of people experiencing extreme poverty, problematic substance use, or mental health concerns, and increase the accessibility of supportive services in Atlanta and Fulton County. Since 2017, PAD has diverted over 200 people from local jails and offered access to housing, mental health and substance use recovery support, employment and income benefits, while addressing legal issues and barriers to stability.
Watch our short video from the Today Show to learn more!
We provide diversion to services instead of an arrest, where probable cause exists but the activity is related to substance use, mental illness or extreme poverty. PAD serves as the coordinating entity for the initiative, providing on-call diversion response, ensuring coordination between agencies, and working with agency partners to reduce legal barriers to success.
By providing a kind and caring connection, immediate safe shelter, and tending to basic needs at the time of diversion, our Care Navigation team provides a direct alternative to jail. The focus of our care navigation services is to reduce criminal justice contact and address quality of life concerns in a way that honors the dignity and self-determination of the participant. Our goal is to work intensively in a 3-6 month period to help the participant remove existing barriers to care (legal, institutional, financial, etc.) and find the most appropriate long-term supports (case management, housing, healthcare, substance use management, family and community connections).
PAD convenes county and city criminal justice stakeholders on a monthly basis to address the legal barriers to success for each PAD participant. This includes reviewing all open cases and supporting participants' in resolving open warrants; working with prosecutors to advocate for dismiss cases or use creative sentencing; connecting participants to the City Public Defender's office for ancillary legal services like Driver's License reinstatement; attending court with participants; and, hosting quarterly legal clinics.