A better way forward
Oklahoma has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, with jail populations frequently over capacity. Often, those involved with the criminal justice system are low-level, nonviolent offenders. Recent criminal justice trends have spurred reforms to move these individuals from jails to diversion programs that enable them to return home to their families, work and communities while receiving life-stabilizing resources and assistance navigating a complex court system.
In 2018, an Advisory Council of local law enforcement, jail administrators, judges, the Public Defender’s office, the District Attorney, and other key community stakeholders was formed to help address this issue and they began discovery on what would become the Diversion Hub. A focus group of formerly justice-involved individuals helped identify several factors that influence individuals to engage with services and programs. These include having hope, feeling listened to and valued, having intensive case management assistance navigating through the criminal justice system, and making connections with a service provider based on trust. From the outset, Advisory Council members emphasized that the Diversion Hub should function mainly as a center for social services, not a mechanism for supervision. In 2019, with their input and guidance for the vision, target population, goals, activities and services that the we would provide we put together a strategic plan and in June of 2020 we opened our doors to begin helping clients.
Today, the Diversion Hub is an independent 501(c)(3) that is supported by MAPS 4, a sales tax approved by voters, as well as an endowment at Oklahoma City Community Foundation with current contributions from Sue Ann Arnall, the Arnall Family Foundation and Kirkpatrick Family Fund. We serve as a central location and referral source for individuals who become justice-involved for less serious offenses. Along with our onsite community partners, we work to reduce jail population, lower recidivism rates, and provide stronger, safer communities for the citizens of Oklahoma County.
We work alongside on-site community partners to meet the needs of the client while keeping community safety and a culture of compassion and accountability as a top priority. Our goal is to provide clients with the needed resources and outlets to help them successfully navigate the justice system. This is accomplished through our case managers, justice navigators and partners.
Case managers assess client needs, work with clients to develop a case plan, and connect clients with onsite services and resources or provides a referral based on individual needs.
Justice navigators assist a client in complying with conditions of a bond, probation or other court orders. They also help clients navigate the correct location for appearances or payments and help inform and remind clients of court dates and other requirements.
Clients who need access to additional social services in order to be successful will be referred to Diversion Hub partners, both those housed within the Hub and offsite. Case managers will oversee a warm hand-off process and work with clients to monitor progress.
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