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Press Release - Tuesday, February 14, 2023

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), with review and assessment being conducted by the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority (ICJIA), continue to expand the Deflection and Pre-Arrest Diversion (DPAD) Initiative across the state. Deflection reduces the number of individuals who enter the criminal justice system by referring individuals who would be better served by the behavioral health system. By addressing the behavioral health issues that often underlie offenses, DPAD can reduce recidivism and strengthen communities.

ISP and IDHS have been partnering with Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) to pilot the DPAD Initiative in the Metro East and Southern Illinois. TASC is a non-profit that advocates for individuals and families affected by substance use and mental health conditions through direct services, policy solutions, and consulting. ISP, IDHS, and TASC have been working through the East St. Louis Public Safety Enforcement Group (PSEG), the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force (SIDTF), the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group (SIEG), the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois (MEGSI), and the South Central Illinois Drug Task Force (SCIDTF) to provide alternatives to arrests. These DPAD initiatives require strong law enforcement and community partnerships that have been achieved in these areas through careful and thoughtful action planning by all stakeholders.

"Turning people away from a path of substance abuse toward mental health services creates safer communities and strengthens law enforcement relationships with the community," said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. "The successes of our partnerships with IDHS and TASC in the southern part of the state justifies expanding this initiative among our metropolitan enforcement groups and drug task forces across Illinois."

"We value the collaboration with our sister agencies and TASC, to advance these initiatives across the state. IDHS is committed to supporting initiatives that keep individuals out of the criminal legal system and appropriately refer them to behavioral health services," said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou.

TASC deflection specialists collaborate with law enforcement, health care, and IDHS' Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery to develop practical strategies through case management for people with substance use and mental health issues. The initiative addresses needed services for victims of violence, human trafficking, and people closely associated with individuals introduced to the criminal justice system through arrest.

Since the inception of these TASC partnerships in early 2022, communities have seen a positive impact among victims of violence, human trafficking victims reunited with families, and many substance use recovery stories. Collectively, in 2022, TASC received more than 300 deflection referrals for services from the enforcement groups and task forces. ICJIA is reviewing the Deflection Initiative and its progress.

"When we focus on referring individuals to treatment programs and other services and deflect from criminal justice system involvement, we can begin to heal people and to build safer communities," said ICJIA Executive Director Delrice Adams. " ICJIA researchers have completed several studies on deflection as evaluators of police and community deflection programs and we are proud to provide program evaluation support for this initiative."

The Southern Illinois Community Engagement Response Team (SICERT) and the SIDTF cover Franklin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, and Williamson counties and can be reached at the TASC hotline at 618-418-4777.

The Community Engagement Response Team - East St. Louis (CERT-ESTL), along with PSEG, cover the greater East St. Louis area and can be reached at

MEGSI, SCIDTF, and TASC form the CHOICES program and will cover Bond, Calhoun, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, and St. Clair counties.

ISP, on behalf of all cooperating programs, thanks the service providers that make this partnership a success.

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