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Archive for the ‘ex-felons’ tag

Status of Anti-Violence Program Questioned

August 12th, 2014 at 7:00 am

anti-violence program, Chicago criminal defense attorneys, CeaseFire program, ex-felons, combat violence, report crime tips, target violent offenders, curb violenceThe state of Illinois has frequently been in the news as of late regarding numerous programs and efforts regarding criminal justice that are in various stages of development and implementation. In fact, our law firm’s blog has featured many articles related to these efforts, including expungement seminars and attempts at sentencing revision. Now, a recent news article is highlighting an anti-violence program, in light of information that was discovered about it, as the result of a new study that was performed by researchers.

CeaseFire

CeaseFire is a program that furthers anti-violence efforts among the criminal population. Now, the program itself is under scrutiny as a new study is now underway regarding its effectiveness. Northwestern University previously conducted a study, which found that CeaseFire acts to reduce crime as participants, called “interrupters,” hit the streets in the most dangerous neighborhoods and attempt to settle conflicts before guns are used in shooting wars. Those who participate as interrupters are often ex-felons themselves. The new study being conducted by the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago is being performed in an effort to reveal some additional information about the true impact of the program CeaseFire, and many are saying that the questions being studied are ones that need answers.

As mentioned, some of the interrupters who participate in CeaseFire have been charged and convicted of serious crimes. This fact brings up an urgent issue about the use of ex-felons within the program. In one recent example, a man working as an interrupter for about one year was arrested and charged with sexual assault and kidnapping of a teen girl. The offenses are alleged to have occurred while the man was working for the program. His charges are pending, and no decision about his guilt has been made in connection with this most recent case. He is among at least nine other individuals who have faced serious criminal charges during the time they were CeaseFire employees.

Police Opinion

Many officers, particularly in Chicago, are at best skeptical of the CeaseFire program and its use of ex-felons as interrupters. However, it may be foreseeable that a program such as CeaseFire, attempting to combat violence on the street level, will encounter similar problems. Part of the rationale behind CeaseFire employing criminals is due to their credibility with young men on the street who may be following in the same path. However, it may be inevitable that some will return to a life of crime.

Police would reportedly like the program to report crime tips to law enforcement, which program directors will not agree to since it would compromise the program’s effectiveness. Ironically, police are supposedly using some of the same techniques as CeaseFire in an effort to de-escalate violent situations before they occur, with the thought that targeting a small number of known violent offenders could have a big impact on decreasing violence overall. The study referenced above is attempting to determine whether CeaseFire or police are more effective in curbing violence on the street level.

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can protect your rights. Contact us today in our Rolling Meadows office for a consultation.

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