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The Co-Response Jail Diversion Program Model
Advocates operates pre-arrest Co-Response Programs in multiple police departments across Massachusetts. These programs are founded on the understanding that by working together, clinicians and law enforcement can respond most appropriately to the needs of individuals in the community who are in crisis.
Advocates' award-winning Co-Response model requires extensive collaboration between the clinician and the patrol division. Our clinicians train and work alongside police officers to help respond to crises and determine appropriate outcomes. Cross-training between the police and these embedded clinicians has resulted in mutual understanding and respect for each other’s roles.
Working in the field with Co-Response clinicians allows police officers the opportunity to deliver rapid mental health services to those they encounter. Police departments report that the number of re-occurring calls has decreased as people are referred to more appropriate services.
Co-Response Jail Diversion Program Arrest & Emergency Department Diversion
Co-Response clinicians can facilitate arrest diversions due to immediate presence on the scene. On average, 75% of individuals presenting with criminal behavior are diverted from arrest and into appropriate treatment. Individuals who are not able to be diverted (more serious crimes/mandatory arrests) also receive support, resources, and referrals from the clinician while in police custody.
Given that Co-Response clinicians are on the scene alongside police, they can provide rapid assessment and de-escalation. This allows for a reduction in costly and unnecessary transportation to hospital emergency departments for mental health assessment.
Co-Response Program History
Advocates launched the first Pre-Arrest Co-Response Program in Massachusetts in 2003 at the Framingham Police Department. The model was successfully replicated in Marlborough (2008), Watertown (2011), Natick (2019), and offered on a regional basis in Hudson & Sudbury (2018), Westborough, Southborough, & Northborough (2019), Lowell (2021), Mansfield (2021), Stow & Harvard (2022), Belmont (2022), Shrewsbury (2022), Uxbridge, Blackstone, & Millville (2022), Northbridge & Douglas (2022), Grafton, Millbury, & Sutton (2022), Norfolk, Wrentham, & Plainville (2022), Sharon & Westwood (2022), Marshfield, Duxbury, & Norwell (2022). In 2018, the first Co-Response Training and Technical Assistance Center operating nationally was launched to expand replication efforts throughout Massachusetts.
Enter Jessica Atwood, who is the department’s new jail diversion program co-response clinician.
Lowell Police Department Jail Diversion Clinicians Touch 78 Lives In Less Than a Year With Co-Response
Acting Superintendent Barry Golner and the Lowell Police Department report that Co-Response Jail Diversion Clinicians Courtney Motuzas and Mackenzie Dezieck have partnered with police officers to divert 78 people from arrest or involuntary emergency room visits since July 2021.