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Therapeutic Courts and Collaborative Programs

King County has programs and courts that focus on helping those with specific needs. The Prosecuting Attorney's Office (PAO) focuses on send eligible cases to these programs rather than through the traditional court system.

Therapeutic Courts

King County Drug Diversion Court

The late King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng and then King County Superior Court Judge Ricardo Martinez started the King County Drug Diversion Court in August 1994 as the 12th drug court in the nation and the first in Washington State.

Drug Court promotes community safety and empowers participants to rebuild their lives by addressing the root causes of criminal behavior.


  • Adults charged with eligible property crimes and other drug-related felonies in King County can choose to participate in this alternative program. Drug Court eligibility criteria can be found here.
  • Individuals whose case(s) have been filed mainstream may ask to have the case(s) reviewed again by the Prosecuting Attorney to determine if the case(s) are eligible for transfer into Drug Court. A defense attorney can request to transfer case(s) into Drug Court by filling out the Transfer Request Form.

Drug Court provides a combination of support, resources, monitoring, and accountability that is designed to help participants stop using and stop committing crimes associated with their addiction. Drug Court also assists participants with obtaining housing and employment and making meaningful community and peer connections. Participants receive comprehensive support and resources to help them succeed – inpatient and outpatient treatment, medications, housing, transportation, peer support, vocational support, and family counseling if needed. The court and case managers provide supervision and encouragement to help participants stay on track.

Drug Court’s standard adult track is a minimum 10-month program, but the average participant takes 16 months to complete. Participants must demonstrate substantial periods of abstinence and compliance and meet specific milestones to progress through the five program phases and graduate, earning a dismissal of their charge(s). Drug Court is an effective program with data continuing to show significant reductions in recidivism, decreased homelessness, reduced substance use, and increased employment for all program participants (not just graduates).

Learn more about Drug Court

King County Regional Mental Health Court

Our Regional Mental Health Court (RMHC) handles cases with severe and persistent mental illness. The person involved in the case must also be amenable to services and conditions.


District Court, Superior Court, and all cities within King County can refer you to this court.

Depending on the referring jurisdiction and the agreed recommendation of the parties, dispositions can include:

  • Diversion
  • Stipulated orders of continuance
  • Deferred sentences
  • Suspended sentences

Court’s supervision duration

Up to 24 months active supervision. Compliance monitoring up to 60 months on DUI and DV cases.

King County Regional Veterans Court

Our Regional Veterans Court (RVC) handles cases involving those with a Behavioral Health Diagnosis and are discharged. They must have been discharged either "Honorably" or "Generally" under honorable conditions (such as being eligible for VA benefits).


District Court, Superior Court, and all cities within King County can refer a case to this court.

Depending on the referring jurisdiction and the agreed recommendation of the parties, dispositions can include:

  • Diversion
  • Stipulated orders of continuance
  • Deferred sentences
  • Suspended sentences

Court’s supervision duration

Up to 24 months active supervision. Compliance monitoring up to 60 months on DUI and DV cases.

Collaborative Programs

Community Diversion Program

By addressing some of the root causes of why individuals commit their first felony, the goals of the Community Diversion Program (CDP) include:

  • Preventing future crime Improve loss recovery outcomes for harmed parties.
  • Decreasing racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system.
  • Saving taxpayer dollars.
  • Seeing better outcomes for the community and those individuals—both in the short- and long-term.
  • Helping eligible people with first-time, non-violent offenses using a restorative form of accountability.

In the CDP context, a restorative form of accountability includes that you:

  • Not contest the allegations against you.
  • Take part in a required needs assessment administered by Public Health.
  • Sign a release of information.
  • Connect and meet with a community partner.

This will address the individual social/behavioral/material needs identified by Public Health.

CDP does not take cases involving:

  • Violent offenses
  • Gun crimes
  • Weapons offenses
  • People with repeat felony offenses

Each participant only has 1 opportunity to take part in this process. If you don't follow these steps, or you reoffend while in the program, the case returns to the Prosecutor’s office for filing.

Learn more about the Community Diversion Program

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)

Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program launched in October 2011. It is the first known pre-booking diversion program for people arrested on narcotics and prostitution charges in the United States.

LEAD comes from a multi-year collaboration involving a wide range of organizations, including:

  • The Defender Association’s Racial Disparity Project
  • The Seattle Police Department
  • The ACLU of Washington
  • The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
  • The Seattle City Attorney’s office
  • The King County Sheriff’s Office
  • Evergreen Treatment Services
  • The King County Executive
  • The Washington State Department of Corrections

Officers can send low-level drug or prostitution offenders to local services instead of jail. This helps improve public safety and public order. It also aims to reduce the criminal behavior of people who take part in the program.

Learn more about LEAD

Legal Intervention and Network of Care

The Legal Intervention and Network of Care (LINC) group handles specific cases. Individuals who have a present or past history of competency concerns where the State does not have a compelling governmental interest in obtaining a conviction and does not need active supervision. In these instances, the State agrees to decline a prefiling referral or dismiss the criminal case upon acceptance into the LINC program.

Court recommendations

A treatment plan will be developed by LINC clinicians and will take into account factors that contributed to the individual being involved in the criminal justice system.


Prosecutorial diversion can be referred on prefiling referrals or on pending District Court and Superior Court cases.

Court’s supervision duration

The duration is individualized based on ongoing compliance and engagement with treatment and housing.

Survivor’s FIRST

The FIRST stands for:

  • Facilitating
  • Information and
  • Resources for
  • Survivors of
  • Trauma

Since 2019, this partnership between YWCA and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has been helping survivor-defendants. Survivors FIRST helps criminalized survivors get domestic and intimate partner violence services. They aim to identify and address these issues in a culturally appropriate approach.

Learn more about Survivors FIRST on the YWCA’s website

Therapeutic Alternative Diversion

The Therapeutic Alternative Diversion (TAD) Program helps those charged with property offenses. It can be up to $2,000 of restitution owed from the offense.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (KCPAO) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) partnered to create this program.

TAD provides access to local services instead of continuing through the mainstream legal system. This diversion program is for both pre-charging (before the case is filed) and post-charging (after the case has been filed.)

The KCPAO reviews each Expedited Felony case referred for criminal charges. We also look at the criminal history of the individual. If your case is eligible, KCPAO sends referral paperwork to the Public Health TAD Care Coordinators. You then participate in an intake process.

If you use the service providers, you will not have a criminal referred charged in District Court. Or if you were charged in District Court, you can have your pending criminal charge dismissed.

Vital Program

The Vital Team through the Familiar Faces Initiative is a hybrid mixture of diversion and reentry, and it tests a whole-person care approach.

It provides comprehensive and integrated services to adults who:

  1. Are experiencing behavioral health challenges (mental health conditions and/or co-occurring substance use issues.)
  2. Need an intensive level of community-based support.
  3. May be experiencing homelessness.

The program provides:

  • Behavioral health services
  • Primary care for physical health
  • Housing
  • Legal coordination

Learn more about Vital