Evaluating a peer-led intervention to support clients to vacate warrants following release from prison: a case study from British Columbia, Canada
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Unlocking the Gates Services Society, Canada
University of British Columbia, Canada
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1593
Background and Objective:
The process of vacating warrants can be difficult to navigate. Having a warrant affects well-being by limiting access to housing, eligibility for income assistance, and engagement in treatment and recovery programs, overall producing adverse health outcomes; therefore, support for navigating the warrant resolution process is needed. This study outlines a peer-led warrant program that supports clients to vacate their warrants. The program also supports clients to connect with social services such as legal aid, income assistance, safe supply, treatment, food and housing in order to meet their survival needs and improve health outcomes.

Surveys were conducted at two time points (intake and follow-up) to monitor progress and determine warrant impact and health outcomes of people seeking to vacate warrants. Two Peer Mentor staff were trained in the specifics of vacating active warrants. Unlocking the Gates Services Society (UTGSS) also established a relationship with a municipal organization providing social services, to promote their services in the community.

The UTGSS warrant program has successfully provided warrant resolution for 77 people, exceeding their target of 50 clients. Of the 77 clients with the assistance of UTGSS, 41 connected with a lawyer, 22 accessed treatment, and 17 found safe temporary housing upon warrant resolution, thus meeting their basic needs and improving health outcomes.

Peer-led interventions can play a critical role in supporting clients to navigate the criminal legal system, including the process of vacating warrants. The positive reception of this peer-led warrant program has led to increasing demands to provide this warrant program to the surrounding communities.

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