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Bridging Health and Justice: Mikayla's Transformative Internship at A Curiae

Last month, A Curiae’s first Master’s of Public Health intern gave a presentation on her research in a collaborative court district wide meeting in the Northern District of California.She presented about her internship and work implementing a recovery capital assessment. 

Mikayla joined A Curiae in August of 2023. She was intelligent, passionate, and curious during her interview albeit with no criminal justice experience. In fact, her first time entering a courthouse, ever, was when I invited her to observe a reentry court session. She had great experience as a registered nurse in pediatric ICU, so I knew she had been around trauma and having difficult conversations. 

The goal of A Curiae has long been to incorporate more public health into the criminal justice system. How can we address public health issues through the court system through public health interventions? I decided to move forward with having a nurse with no criminal justice experience because the public health perspective would be fresh and help identify appropriate interventions and policy to improve our approach. 

For the past 8 months, Mikayla has been researching articles, interviewing practitioners, and observing court sessions to identify improvement in our programs. With the recent revision to All Rises’ best practices, she identified recovery capital as an assessment that could quantify behavior change and improvement through programming and direct services. While recidivism and rearrests rates are important data points, they are a snapshot of our population’s lives. There is more to their behavior change than just that moment of their life in the revolving door of the criminal justice system. 

After copious amounts of interviews and research, the standard up and down of identifying the appropriate tool, and strategizing implementation, we landed on the Multidisciplinary Inventory Recovery Capital Assessment (MIRC), to implement in A Curiae. This tool will collect information that will help evaluate the behavior change and capital a client has from receiving services with A Curiae and participating in collaborative courts. 

We’ve been so lucky to have Mikayla for the past year, and she’s set an incredibly high standard for the quality of work, focus, and drive an intern can give to A Curiae. It’s powerful to connect two large, challenging, necessary systems, health and criminal justice. Mikayla has done this providing her expertise in public health and taking on new, innovative challenges in criminal justice. A Curiae has been lucky to have her! 

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