Anderson, Evan et al
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Philadelphia launched a Police Assisted Diversion (PAD) program to address the highest rates of poverty, incarceration, and fatal overdose among large cities in the U.S. PAD enables police officers to connect people with supportive services in many instances that would otherwise result in arrest or through outreach when no crime is suspected.
PAD represents a new less-punitive model for responding to illegal purchasing of drugs, possession of drugs, prostitution, and retail theft in Philadelphia. Clients reported mostly positive experiences with the program, identifying the primary benefits as avoided arrest and relational support from affiliated service providers. Police officers expressed support for the program in principle but skepticism about its effects in practice, questioning the quality of available services. Program personnel and police officers described multi-sectoral collaboration as essential to addressing frequent and diverse logistical challenges, including overly restrictive eligibility criteria, mistrust between police and service providers, and coordination across different neighborhoods. Finally, all three groups suggested that people can only benefit from service linkages when they are ready to engage and that inadequate access to resources like housing limits program effectiveness.
Semi-structured interviews with 30 clients, 15 police officers, and 12 other personnel involved with the program
Justice system/law enforcement