Caught in the Crossfire is a youth violence intervention program of Youth ALIVE! that works to close the “revolving door” of violence. Launched at Oakland’s Highland Hospital in 1994, the program has now been replicated across the country.
As soon as a young person is admitted to the hospital with a violence-related injury, an Intervention Specialist typically arrives within one hour to help the injured patient, family and friends cope with the injury and start talking about alternatives to retaliation. Intervention Specialists are young adults from the same communities as the clients they serve who have overcome violence in their own lives. They provide emotional support, work to prevent retaliation, promote alternative strategies for dealing with conflicts, identify short-term needs, and develop a plan for staying safe. Following hospital discharge, Intervention Specialists continue to provide case management and mentoring for six months. The results: In 2009, 95% of all active Caught in the Crossfire participants avoided re-injury and 90% were not arrested. Former Attorney General Janet Reno selected Caught in the Crossfire as a model to be replicated throughout the country in 1999.