How will you show your love for ATL this #GivingTuesday? Read this letter from our executive director Mokí Macias on why you should support PAD for #GAgives this season…
I’m writing to ask you to invest in community safety this #GAgives Day – by helping us keep people out of jail. The Atlanta/Fulton County Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative (PAD) diverts people who would otherwise end up there because they are using drugs or alcohol, have mental health needs, or are poor. When police officers divert individuals to PAD, we offer immediate safe shelter, food and clothing, and a motivational relationship of care and respect. Through relationships with local criminal justice agencies, social services and community groups we also advocate for criminal justice reforms that redirect people from incarceration and invest in the services that prevent crime
Since launching in October 2017, we have successfully diverted 46 people from the Atlanta City Detention Center and 20 people from the Fulton County Jail. When participants join the program, our Care Navigators partner with service providers across the Metro area to help them obtain ID, secure housing, access recovery support, connect to healthcare, and more.
Over the past year, participants have reconnected with family members, started working, secured name changes and disability benefits, and resolved longstanding legal issues that had prevented them from moving forward. This is what happens when people stop being punished, and start being asked: How can we help you do better?
Participants have also been kicked out of programs, re-arrested, and stopped showing up. We know this may happen when people are dealing with addiction, mental illness, and individual and systemic trauma. So we keep offering support, keep working to reduce harm, and keep building positive connections. We don’t give up on anyone.
Though we began accepting diversions last fall, pre-arrest diversion was an idea many years in the making. In 2013, people directly impacted by policing and incarceration rallied a broad coalition of Atlantans to call for a new approach to community safety and wellness. Today, PAD is an independent nonprofit agency supported by the City of Atlanta, Fulton County, and private funders. We are stewards of this vision and we need your help to continue making it real. Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Atlanta/Fulton County Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative.
With gratitude and hope,