Innovative RI program models the future of criminal justice reform

PROVIDENCE — An assistant public defender, a community health worker and a social caseworker huddled with a man accused of robbery on a recent morning in the hallway at the Licht Judicial Complex.

The group was discussing a possible disposition in the case with Hakim Milton, 41, a towering, slender man breathing with the assistance of a tracheostomy tube, his face etched with trepidation.

“There’s always a chance they’re going to send me back. I’m a stress head,” Milton said.

Unlike the other defendants awaiting court appearances on benches lining the hallway, Milton is accompanied by a team from the Rhode Island Public Defender’s office and the Lifespan Transitions Clinic, a program launched in 2018 to help address the myriad needs of people transitioning from prison back into the community. 

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