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Research Questions

  1. How is LA DOOR being implemented?
  2. Is LA DOOR achieving its intended outcomes?

The Los Angeles Diversion, Outreach, and Opportunities for Recovery program (LA DOOR) was designed by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office (LACA) to provide a comprehensive, health-focused, preventative approach that proactively engages individuals at elevated risk of returning to LACA on a new misdemeanor offense related to substance use, mental illness, or homelessness.

LA DOOR was funded through the grant program of Proposition 47. Programs funded through Proposition 47 are intended to serve individuals with a history of criminal justice involvement and mental health issues or substance use disorders and to offer mental health services, substance use disorder treatment, and diversion programs for justice-involved individuals. Grant-funded projects such as LA DOOR are required to be evaluated to understand how they are being implemented and whether they are achieving their intended outcomes. The formal evaluation of the program is being conducted by the RAND Corporation and its subcontractor, KH Consulting Group.

This final evaluation report summarizes the authors' findings from a process and outcome evaluation of Cohort 1 of LA DOOR, which provided services from July 2018 to March 2021. Interested stakeholders of this report include LACA, the California Board of State and Community Corrections, the City of Los Angeles, and other jurisdictions that provide supportive services to criminal justice populations or might be interested in implementing a similar program.

Key Findings

LA DOOR successfully established three referral sources and has exceeded its goal for the number of enrolled clients

  • LA DOOR enrolled 711 participants in case management.
  • LA DOOR pivoted and implemented the social contact referral arm, which has become a successful referral source.

LA DOOR is achieving high completion rates

  • Seventy-four percent of individuals enrolled in LA DOOR case management have completed at least two months of engagement.

LA DOOR clients represent a hard-to-treat population with high needs

  • Sixty-five percent of LA DOOR clients report having co-occurring substance use problems and mental health issues.
  • A majority of participants also expressed housing service needs (67 percent) and general service needs (58 percent).

The need for housing has become more prevalent, and LA DOOR has increased capacity to meet those needs

  • One of the most expressed needs of LA DOOR clients was the need for housing (67 percent overall).

COVID-19 created additional barriers to serving clients

  • At the onset of the pandemic, program partners quickly adapted their communication to a virtual format and collaborated digitally to address the rapidly changing pandemic situation.
  • The LA DOOR Mobile Team ceased providing outreach services for only two weeks—just long enough to train staff in appropriate precautions and to access personal protective equipment for all team members.

Participants were satisfied with services

  • LA DOOR participants described the importance of the services provided and highlighted that the mobile outreach component was particularly important to engaging them in the program.

Recommendations

  • Continue serving lower-acuity referrals.
  • Continue working on quality data collection.
  • Continue working to match needs to services.
  • Focus on employment linkages.

Research conducted by

This research was funded by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office and conducted by the Justice Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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