And of course, some are not. The good news here is that we are seeing news outlets also begin to recognize that evidence-based root cause mitigation rather than the usual “go-to” soundbites is the right path forward.
We have talked about one of the folks in this article previously, the new Philadelphia city prosecutor (Larry Krasner), as he’d made comments previously about needing to address the root causes of violence rather than just going after more Bloomberg and De Blasio style stop and frisk. From the article:
Krasner also worries that gun enforcement won’t actually solve gun violence; he notes that many in law enforcement support gun possession cases as a way to fight gun violence “in spite of little research supporting the approach.”
We’ve seen that time and time again, these approaches are used as a bludgeon the black and brown communities, furthering the massive prison industrial complex while doing next to nothing to improve outcomes in the community. With that said, positive things are also happening in Brooklyn, where they have been working to reduce re-offending and improve outcomes. Much like the violence interruption programs we have been advocating for on our root cause mitigation page for years.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez runs a diversion program aimed at people ages 13 to 22 who are facing things like gun charges. The program, called Youth and Congregations in Partnership, appears to be fairly successful. By linking defendants with social workers and schooling, the program appears to both reduce reoffending and improve other life outcomes that address the deeper root causes of violence.
Eric Adams is obviously going down the wrong path by relying on the same tired, ineffective, and community-damaging policies that his predecessors went after. Making it easier to throw teens in jail just ensures that we’re increasing the school-to-prison pipeline which is the wrong direction. We should be working to reduce the prison population and helping these kids to become healthy and productive members of society.
The last part of this article really sums things up well, and we applaud the authors as well as the folks who have been doing the hard work on the ground to push these programs forward.
Both reports emphasize support for programs such as housing support, protection against eviction, and drug treatment. Targeting these causes can take time, and gun violence is an immediate concern. But much of the data provided by the Philadelphia report, alongside the findings of the CCI study, caution that a broad-brush effort to stop the flow of guns may accomplish little on its own terms, and may even exacerbate some of the underlying causes of violence.