The Yellow Line Project

2018 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Blue Earth County, Minn., MN

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About the Program

Category: Human Services (Best in Category)

Year: 2018

The Yellow Line Project is designed to provide an early response to individuals with acute or chronic mental/chemical health problems who have become involved with law enforcement and are not a risk to the community. The primary goal is to prevent unnecessary incarcerations. The YLP enhances the options available to law enforcement so that individuals get the right services at the right time and have strong incentives to participate in those services. The Yellow Line Project is different from other jail diversion projects, is the first of its kind in Minnesota, and is beginning to be replicated by counties across the state. The main difference is the process for diversion takes place before an arrested individual crosses "The Yellow Line" into jail where personal needs and choices are reduced or eliminated. This project focuses primarily on the time between an individual being detained and the possibility of them being booked into jail. Our project brings together law enforcement and human services to negotiate an individualized solution. The project’s original design team included are Blue Earth County Human Services, Sheriff’s Office, Mankato Department of Public Safety and Horizon Homes, Inc., and now includes many community-based partners such as the County Attorney’s Office, Corrections Department, Mayo Clinic Health System, and others. Results from the Yellow Line Project include significant savings in hospitalization and detox costs, reduced utilization of jail beds, and reduced reliance on corrections and court services costs. Conversely, we have seen higher utilization of mobile crisis services and other direct treatment services. In our first six months of 24/7 operations, we realized a net savings of $235,375. The most efficient description of the project can be found by viewing the video on the website at

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