New Orleans Summit, 11-10-18, UNO
Approaching Violence as a Public Health Issue (New Orleans Program)
“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.