Diversion First

Sheriff Stacey Kincaid is highly regarded both locally and nationally for raising awareness and changing attitudes about mental illness. She helped spearhead Diversion First, the County’s collaborative initiative that offers alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness who commit low-level offenses.

Since the launch of Diversion First on January 1, 2016, more than 1,300 people have been diverted from potential arrest. Recognizing that not every person in crisis can be diverted from arrest due to the nature of their charges, Sheriff Kincaid has made changes in the Adult Detention Center, including the expansion of therapeutic housing units and the implementation of telepsychiatry. She has also created partnerships with advocacy groups including the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“Sheriff Kincaid has become a nationally recognized leader in corrections, especially when it comes to bridging the divide between the criminal justice and behavioral health systems. She courageously demands reforms and finds creative solutions so that Fairfax County can better meet the needs of people with mental illness or substance use disorders.”

- Pete Earley, a lifetime member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and author of four New York Times bestsellers, including the 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist ‘Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness’


Diversion First is a collaborative effort to reduce the number of people with mental illness in the county jail by diverting low risk offenders experiencing a mental health crisis to treatment rather than bringing them to jail.