The Snohomish Diversion Pilot: Treatment Services for Homeless Individuals with Substance Use Disorders as an Alternative to Jail

Sep 2019 |
11.249
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Online Library

The Snohomish Diversion Pilot (SDP) is a jail diversion program established by the 2018 Legislature (ESSB 6032) with an allocation of $800,000 for state fiscal year 2019 and additional funding provided by local sales tax dollars. Homeless individuals at risk of arrest for minor infractions who have substance use or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders (SUD) were referred to the SDP by embedded social workers and law enforcement officers throughout Snohomish County. Eligible individuals amenable to treatment received on-site medical and behavioral health screenings by staff at the 44-bed Snohomish Diversion Center and were connected to treatment, social services, and housing resources. This report describes short-term, pre-post outcomes for 192 SDP participants who enrolled from July through October 2018. Compared to the three months prior to enrollment, engagement in SUD treatment services more than doubled, jail bookings and the average number of days jailed decreased, and almost half of participants were re-housed. Due to the short follow-up and lack of comparison group, findings should be considered preliminary. Further analyses is required to confidently assess the effectiveness of the program.

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