New Orleans Resident Leadership Summit

Post by 
Mary Fontenot
November 26, 2018

ew Orleans Summit

University of New Orleans
Approaching Violence as a Public Health Issue

“Cure Violence” is a nationwide movement. It is structured for prevention and intervention. They use a holistic approach with early education, therapy, workforce development, support, counseling, social services and social workers.

Gun violence has become an epidemic and is contagious, so they moved the program to the public health department. In their effort to stop retaliation, people who have spent time in jail were hired to be violence interrupters and mentors. There were several of these workers on the panel at the Summit. They were in prison for twelve, fifteen, twenty and thirty years. They go to schools to help mediate. They go to the scenes of crime and hospitals to try to stop retaliation by explaining why the friends and family don’t really want to retaliate, what living in prison is like and how after ten years they would certainly wish they hadn’t retaliated because they will lose their family, friends and freedom. There are thirteen violence interrupters, one for each “neighborhood”. They are the boots on the ground.

One man in the audience, who had spent thirty years in prison, asked, “You can tell young men to get off the corner, but what are you going to replace the corner with? You need to give them alternatives.”

There is a new law where a judge can put an 18-year old first time offender for a gun offense in programs rather than jail.
New Orleans, LA (now called New Orleans Cure Violence) CeaseFire started operations in January 2012 with staff operational in April 2012 with funding by the city, Wisner Donation, Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Team, Kellogg Foundation, and Baptist Community Ministries. The program is implemented by the city and the Urban League of Greater New Orleans and operates in Central City with a hospital program at LSU funded. The target area saw reductions in shootings and homicides in 2013, including 200 plus days without a killing. They recorded 30 conflict mediated in 2013.

Core Elements:

  • Detect potentially violent events and interrupt them to prevent violence through trained credible messengers
  • Provide ongoing behavior change and support to the highest-risk individuals through trained credible messengers
  • Change community norms that allow, encourage and exacerbate violence in chronically violent neighborhoods to healthy norms that reject the use of violence.
  • Continually analyze data to ensure proper implementation and identify changes in violence patterns and levels.
  • Provide training and technical assistance to workers, program managers and implementing agency covering the necessary skills to implement the model correctly (required to achieve the expected decreases in violence)

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