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Empower community members to transform and create the meaning and the realization of justice in order to achieve equity and self-determination for those impacted by the collateral consequences of criminal justice and crisis systems involvement.


Diversion and Reentry Services endeavors to develop and administer programs and initiatives in King County that are supportive of, and informed by, individuals with behavioral health conditions encountering the criminal justice and crisis systems. We will be responsive to the needs of the whole person; supportive of individuals remaining in the community with access to services and resources; promote recovery; and reduce episodes of incarceration and hospitalization.


King County implemented a range of jail reentry programs and services in 2003 and 2004 to help people in the criminal justice system with unmet mental health or substance abuse needs connect to treatment services, stable housing, and other supports as alternatives to incarceration.  Initially, this effort, called the King County Criminal Justice Initiatives (CJI), was born out of the Adult Justice Operational Master Plan and was focused primarily on serving individuals coming into the adult specialty courts in King County, with some limited discharge planning services in the King County Jail.

These services were expanded in 2005 when State of Washington funds via House Bill 1290, called Jail Transition Services, were appropriated to Counties to serve a jail reentry function.  The CJI was expanded to serve all municipal jails in King County as well as expand reentry services in the King County Jail. In  2007, programs were further expanded via the King County Veterans and Human Services Levy (VHSL) funding the Forensic Intensive Supportive Housing (FISH) program and part of the Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) program (along with some state housing grant funds).  When the VHSL was renewed in 2012, the Veterans Justice Initiative (VJI) was created to oversee programs serving Veterans who are invHomeolved in the local criminal justice system, to work with the Federal Veterans Justice Initiatives and to work closely with our local Veterans Courts.

The Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) Action Plan was passed in late 2008 (local 0.10 sales tax levy), CJI programs were expanded to serve more specialty court participants, jail release planning, and bring pre-jail booking options into King County via the Crisis Solutions Center.

In 2014, with some reorganization from the administrative aspect within the oversight body of all of these programs, and as the oversight of the MIDD dollars, MHCADSD created the Diversion and Reentry Services Section, which combines pre-arrest / pre-jail booking diversion, post-booking reentry (formerly the Criminal Justice Initiatives and Veterans Justice Initiative) and our populations encountering the forensic systems locally and  at Western State Hospital via the forensic commitment laws (RCW 10.77, HB 1114, and Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) statutes).

Equity and Social Justice Framework for DRS

Equity and Social Justice is a key component and guiding principle of the administration, service delivery and systems coordination/transformation framework of the Diversion and Reentry Services section.  We are working on using equity tools in all of our processes including Request for Proposals and new program development, current contracting, systems integration, systems coordination and workforce development.

National Context Information on Diversion and Reentry

To learn more about jail diversion for individuals with mental health and/or co-occurring substance use disorders, please see the SAMHSA Co-Occurring Disorders in criminal justice settings, and visit the National GAINS Center.  See also the Council for State Governments Consensus Project, the National Reentry Resource Center, and the Washington National Reentry Resource Center.

Service Programs/Process Improvements Implemented

  • Evidence-based practices including forensic ACT, IDDT, MRT, WRAP, and Motivational Interviewing
  • Co-occurring disorder integrated mental health and substance use disorder treatment
  • Housing vouchers
  • Intensive outpatient chemical dependency treatment at the King County Community Center for Alternative Programs (CCAP)
  • Criminal justice liaisons and Jail Health Services release planners
  • Jail based chemical dependency assessment / application worker
  • Department of Social and Health Services financial application and social workers
  • Cross-system training and system-wide forensic staff training 

For more information on the Diversion and Reentry Services contact Jesse Benet, Reentry Services Coordinator; Chelsea Baylen, Veterans Justice Initiative Coordinator; Susan Schoeld, Crisis Diversion Program Manager; Jeanne Camelio, Hospital and Forensic Services Diversion and Reentry Coordinator; or Margo Burnison, Diversion and Reentry Services Contract Monitor.

Contact Us

Phone 206-263-9000

TTY Relay: 711

Fax: 206-296-0583