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$55 million program to cut violence in Chicago

 Posted on December 09, 2012 in Criminal Defense

$55 million programAn Illinois state-funded program paid for teenagers across Chicago’s South Side to earn $8.75 this fall passing out flier about non-violence. This program pumped about $55 million into Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods and three suburbs to fight gang violence.

CNN launched a four-month investigation and found that the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) paid teens to hand out inner peace promoting fliers and also paid for the at-risk teens to go on field trips to museums, march in a parade with the governor, and attend a yoga class to teach them how to handle stress.

Earlier in the year, state legislators demanded an audit on the program, which is now underway.

Supporters of the program argue that it kept kids off the streets of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods and helped inner city youth become exposed to new cultures, along with encouraging future leaders.

Critics of the program, however, argue that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money, due to the rise in the city’s murder rate since the start of the program two years ago. They have also suggested that it may have been an effort for the governor to buy votes for a tight race.

Pat Quinn became governor of Illinois in 2009, following a corruption scandal that took down his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich. After completing Blagojevich’s term, Quinn just barely won the Democratic primary to run for the full term in 2010. Again, he narrowly won governorship against his Republican opponent.

In October 2010, Quinn announced his Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, to make an impact at the root causes of violence by creating 3,000 jobs for young people.

The opposing Republican Party questioned the timing of this big announcement and many are concerned about how the program will be funded.

Quinn, however, insisted that the initiative was in direct response to the relentless violence that Chicago experienced in the summer of 2010.

The program’s accomplishments include the creation of more than 3,484 jobs, counseling for more than 3,100 children, and help to more than 1,175 ex-cons, as reported by the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority.

The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative is still a new program and has kinks still being worked out, but many kids and young adults are being kept out of criminal trouble because of it. If you are in some kind of legal trouble, contact an Illinois criminal attorney for help. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help you this holiday season.

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