Fighting Gun Violence by Treating It Like a Disease

Last Updated by Will Glover on
What are you supposed to do while you wait out a 24-year prison term? Detroiter Calvin Evans studied, planned and prepared himself to make a new life the moment he was freed five years ago.
Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 4.09.11 PM.pngCalvin Evans
Now, he’s helped to create D.L.I.V.E, an anti-violence program for young gunshot victims who find themselves treated at Detroit’s Sinai Grace Hospital. Evans counsels young men and women from the hospital recovery room until they’ve healed, both physically and mentally, finding ways to turn them away from a life on the streets, and into a healthier future. 

An article and video on this innovative program was produced by Bill Kubota, Senior Producer for Detroit Public Television’s One Detroit initiative. It has since been picked up for republishing by Deadline Detroit and major national websites focused on urban issues such as CityLab and Belt.


Calvin Evans told Kubota that part of D.L.I.V.E’s success lies in the fact that it is  not affiliated with the Detroit Police Department and thus able to build bonds of trust with young patients who are at times shot because they are involved in crime or drugs. The police have traditionally treated them as suspects.

D.L.I.V.E is different. As Evans explains, “You want the individual to know you understand that they are the victim in spite of what may have happened. You are the victim once you enter this hospital.”

D.L.I.V.E’s approach also is novel because it treats gunshot violence as a public health, not a criminal justice, issue.

As its director, Sinai Grace emergency room doctor, Tolulope Sonuyi, said, “When we look at cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease, we do lifestyle modifications in those areas. We’re able to move the needle on morbidity and mortality. Dlive1.pngDoctor, Tolulope Sonuyi

“Why should violence be any different?”

And D.L.I.V.E is keeping its clients alive. Nationally, their odds of returning to the hospital as victims of violence should be 45 percent. The number for those in the D.L.I.V.E program is zero.

Kubota’s story is part of One Detroit’s  ongoing Pathways to Prison project, an  examination of social factors and criminal justice policies that have placed so many Michigan residents behind bars.

The original story, including the video, can be found at:



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