Deflection: A Powerful Crime-Fighting Tool That Improves Community Relations

In this article, Jac Charlier, national director for justice initiatives for the Center for Health and Justice at TASC, discusses the concept of police deflection—sometimes called pre-arrest or pre-booking diversion.

Charlier examines the components of deflection and its potential for reducing the burden that substance use and mental health issues place on communities and on law enforcement. By balancing public safety risk with the importance of providing access to supportive, community-based addiction and mental health services, deflection can help reduce recidivism, avoid the repeated costs of arresting and incarcerating people for nonviolent offenses, and provide common-sense solutions for officers who have seen first-hand that arresting individuals does not stop addiction and mental illness.

This is a follow-up article to "Want to Reduce Drugs in Your Community? You Might Want to Deflect Instead of Arrest" published in the September 2015 issue of The Police Chief Magazine.

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