READI Chicago, a gun violence prevention program focused on cognitive behavioral interventions, employment, and skill building said that its director, Eddie Bocanegra, will take a leave of absence from its parent organization Heartland Alliance to serve as senior advisor for community violence intervention to the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP). Bocanegra joined Heartland Alliance in 2017 to develop and launch READI Chicago, which has served over 1,600 men at acute risk of gun violence involvement. The program, which says it is showing promising evidence of its impact, has helped advance the national conversation for how cities can reduce gun violence through evidence-informed strategies.
“Eddie’s new position with the Department of Justice is a testament to his vital work with READI Chicago and demonstrates the important role leaders in Chicago and Illinois play in the field of community violence intervention,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), noting that Attorney General Merrick Garland has visited the program. Bocanegra has worked for Chicago's Safer Chicago Commission, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Leadership Council, the Illinois’ Juvenile Justice Initiative, and the Council of Criminal Justice.