Lantern Project - Behavioral Health Diversion


The Lantern Project - Behavioral Health Diversion

The Lantern Project is a Deflection, Diversion and Reentry program that specializes in supporting individuals who are justice involved or at risk of justice involvement with person-centered and evidence-based services to reduce the risk of overdose, COVID-19 infection and recidivism by connecting people to support and treatment. See here (link) for more information about the Lantern Project as a whole. This section will cover the diversion component.

The Lantern Project Diversion Coordination Project seeks to reduce the harm of court involvement for those with a behavioral health diagnoses by diverting them from the criminal legal system to community supports and treatment. The Diversion Coordinator will create a specialized Diversion Plan that can include referrals for peer support, harm reduction education, service referrals for behavioral health needs, and any additional case management needs that would best support the individual in the community.

The diversion process begins when a referral is made by law enforcement officials, district attorneys, or court personnel to the Lantern Project Diversion Coordinator. The person referred must contact the Diversion Coordinator within 72 hours. The Diversion Coordinator will meet with the individual and assess their specific needs and create an individualized and tailored Diversion Service Plan. Upon completion of the Diversion Plan the arrest or criminal court case has the possibility of being dismissed and/or closed. The Diversion Coordinator will work with the individual throughout their service plan and provide ongoing case management to the individual.  If the individual successfully completes the program, the charge or case will be closed/dismissed and the Diversion Coordinator will complete additional referrals for driver license restoration, expungement, or other services that may be needed.  


  • Individual must be 18 years old
  • Individuals can have a pending court case
  • Individuals can be referred pre-charge or post-charge
  • Individual has a behavioral health diagnosis (substance use diagnosis or mental health diagnosis)
  • Charge restrictions
    1. No domestic violence charges
    2. No traffic charges
    3. No charge that involves the use of a weapon
  • Individual can have a criminal background
  • Final discretion on diversion referral remains with law enforcement officers and the District Attorney’s Office

Diversion referral form for Law Enforcement
Diversion referral form for Court Stakeholders
Lantern Project Diversion Policy Overview

Lantern Project Brochure

  1. Criminal Justice Resource Department

    Physical Address
    106 E Margaret Lane
    1st Floor, Courthouse
    Hillsborough, NC 27278

    Fax: 919-640-1729

  2. Megan Pickard, CPSS

    Recovery Diversion Coordinator