Broward County, Florida
The Freedom Project enables diversion of individuals with mental health and addiction disorders, who are alleged to have committed non-violent, victimless crimes, to a six-bed “safe house” on a voluntary basis. Officers are able to drop off individuals 24 hours a day and, typically, be back on their patrols in less than 15 minutes. Staff at the facility assess the needs of the individual and make referrals for treatment and services. The project was established in 2009 and is funded, in part, by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners and a grant from the Florida Department of Children & Families and Florida Substance Abuse and Mental Health Corporation.
Information on the success of this and similar programs in Florida can be found at the Florida Partners in Crisis website.
Crisis Solutions Center
The City of Seattle established the Crisis Solutions Center where individuals who are alleged to have committed minor, non-violent crimes due to their mental illness or substance abuse can be taken by law enforcement or emergency services personnel. Staff at the Crisis Solutions Center provide mental health and chemical dependency assessment(s) and treatment, including individual and group counseling and medication therapy. Individuals are also referred and linked to ongoing community services and housing options.
To provide funding for crisis diversion facilities, the Washington State Legislature passed legislation that allows each county to pass a 1/10th of 1 percent sales tax increase to specifically fund innovative mental health and chemical dependency treatment programs.