Helping Understand Barriers (HUB) Prosecutor Diversion Program



Many people commit non-violent crimes as a means of survival. Social determinants barriers, including unemployment and lack of food, may result in substance use, criminal activity, or other negative behaviors. These individuals often spend months to years cycling through the criminal justice system before they can or are able to make a change. Research supports we need to begin to view the criminal justice system through a public health lens to address recidivism. Our goal is to prevent crime through this front-end fulfillment of social services’ needs.


We perform an internal review of the cases to determine eligibility for the program. In court, a trained community health worker from a third party provider administers a 36 question screening tool about social determinants barriers and provides linkage to resources to address needs. Resources can include anything from employment prospects, treatment, transportation, or food access. This confidential information is stored in a HIPAA compliant database. The community health worker keeps the defendant on the health worker’s caseload throughout the diversion process to assist with any outstanding issues. Upon successful completion of the program, our prosecutors ask the court to dismiss the criminal case and agree to having the case sealed.


Kim Foxx, State’s Attorney (Cook County, IL)

A Fresh Start

Last month, NewDEAL Leader Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced a partnership with Code for America to speed up the process of expunging past cannabis convictions that are now eligible for relief due to legalized recreational marijuana. The Clear My Record technology automatically evaluates eligibility and doesn’t require any input from the affected individual, making it possible for tens of thousands of county residents to get relief quickly. Learn more about the Clear My Record program and SA Foxx’s commitment to “right the wrongs of the past” as criminal justice laws are changed.


Zach Klein, City Attorney, (Columbus, OH)

Addressing the Roots of Crime

NewDEAL Leader Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein unveiled a new pilot program to reduce theft recidivism, aiming to address the underlying needs and instability that drive an individual to repeat theft rather than simply punishing the crime. Repeat offenders who have stolen from large stores will be eligible to be diverted from jail to case workers who will develop a plan tailored to their needs, whether treatment for addiction or access to services for food insecurity. Learn more about the diversion program, which will be funded by a combination of federal and city money.


Bridget Gainer, County Commissioner (Cook County, IL)

Supporting Pregnant and Post-Partum Women Serving Time

NewDEAL Leader Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer successfully championed the approval of $500,000 in grants to provide comprehensive services for pregnant women and new mothers serving time in jail. The grants will fund the work of two long-standing nonprofits, which will provide counseling, parenting skills, drug treatment, job placement, and medical care for the women and their very young children. Learn more about the grants, which will help mothers and babies lead healthy and productive lives.


Clay Jenkins, County Judge, (Dallas County, TX)

Criminal Justice Reform

As his county explores the financial feasibility of reducing or eliminating criminal fees and fines, NewDEAL Leader Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is advocating for the reduction of court fees and fines to reform the criminal justice system into one that does not discriminate based on poverty. Judge Jenkins noted that these fees can cause defendants to become stuck in the justice system when they’re forced to choose between paying for basic needs like rent or paying fees, leading to jail time. Read more about the study and recommendations expected by the end of 2019, and Judge Jenkins’ insight on how “ill-thought-out” fees and fines can impact people’s ability to work and go to school.