Who We Are

The Atlanta/Fulton County Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative, also known as “PAD”, is a coordinating agency that strives to reduce the number of people in jails who would be better served by social and behavioral health services. Pre-arrest diversion allows police officers to offer consent-based supportive services instead of making an arrest. Officers initiate diversions, and are met at the scene of the offense by a PAD Care Navigation team who immediately begins working with a diverted participant. Our goal is to divert 150 participants by October 2019, eventually expanding to serve the entire city of Atlanta.

The Problem

We cannot arrest our way out of the problems facing our communities – in fact, the cycle of arrest and jail time often make it harder for people committing survival crimes to become more stable over time. We know that many quality of life, nuisance and other crimes are driven by unmet mental health needs, substance use/misuse, and/or extreme poverty. By addressing these needs through holistic case management and a network of services we can directly focus on the root causes of many of the issues are communities face. It’s a common sense solution with a big impact.

How We’re Different

  • Pre-arrest diversion happens before an arrest is made, instead of after someone has been taken into custody or booked into jail.
  • PAD does not exclude people with criminal records, those who are homeless, or those who cannot pay for the program (there is no charge to participants).
  • PAD uses a Harm Reduction philosophy: We meet people where they are and do not stop working with them when they experience setbacks.

Our Implementation Partners

  • Fulton County Office of the Public Defender
  • Office of the Fulton County District Attorney
  • Office of the Fulton County Solicitor General
  • Atlanta Police Department
  • Atlanta Office of the Public Defender
  • Atlanta Office of the Solicitor