A new study of a Chicago antiviolence program has provided evidence that there are ways to tamp down violence among members of the city's most-endangered populations without arresting or jailing them, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The last two years have seen unprecedented spikes in violence in Chicago and some other U.S. cities. Amid that surge, protesters took to the streets to decry aggressive policing that’s long been the standard response to rising murder totals. City leaders have poured record funding into dozens of community programs—and spent hundreds of millions on police overtime —as shootings and killings reached near-record levels.
A study by University of Chicago researchers found that an outreach program is having success in reducing crime and violence among the high-risk men who participated. A trial tracked some 2,500 men in Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods and found that men who participated in an intensive, 18-month program called READI Chicago were nearly two-thirds less likely to be arrested for a violent crime and nearly 20 percent less likely to be shot themselves than a similar group of men that weren’t in the program. Those are all significant declines. One third of participants had been shot at least once before enrolling, and had an average of 17 arrests on their rap sheet. READI, which includes ily job training, counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy, is funded exclusively by private donors with about $20 million per year,. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2022 budget includes $14.5 million for similar programs that have formed a network that covers all of the city’s most-violent neighborhoods