Many individuals in vulnerable communities have issues accessing health care and managing justice issues. This project seeks to understand criminal justice involvement as a social determinant of health and integrate the criminal justice and healthcare systems in Newark, New Jersey.
To this end, the project aims to:
- More fully understand how people make decisions about their wellbeing when they have competing legal and healthcare needs.
- Strengthen the capacity of both systems to respond its consumers’ legal and healthcare needs.
- Implement an “exchange program” across both anchor systems.
Data collected through surveys and stakeholder engagement will inform the development of staff training and resource materials that can be distributed in University Hospital’s Emergency Department and the Newark Municipal Court. Combined, these trainings and resources will build the capacity of healthcare providers and hospital patients to identify and respond to pending legal matters which could interfere with healthcare services. Alternatively, court staff, forensic case managers, and court consumers will be better suited to respond to presenting healthcare needs within the legal system. With improved capacity and systems knowledge, the project will design and implement an “exchange program” whereby community members will be able to simultaneously identify and address outstanding legal needs while receiving preventative medical services in the courthouse or community through co-located service delivery.