Members of an anti-violence committee formed by the New Orleans branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People visited Boston and New York City to learn about successful strategies, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Experts they consulted agreed that the effort would require unprecedented cooperation. Local, federal, and state law enforcement agencies, probation departments, the correctional system, the courts, government, social workers, schools, churches and neighborhoods must work together to help faltering children. The key will be the black community, said the Rev. Eugene Rivers, an African-American clergyman who played a significant part in the drastic reduction of Boston’s murder rate during the ’90s, with programs and initiatives now dubbed “The Boston Miracle.”
Nationwide, about 52 percent of those released from prison eventually return. If the government “invests” $25,000 a year to house an inmate, why not follow up on that investment with efforts aimed making rehabilitation effective? asked Michael Jacobson of the Vera Institute, a New York-based criminal justice think tank. Vera helped evaluate the Center for Employment Opportunities, a group of companies that hire people the day they are released from prison. For three to six months, former inmates earn a check doing mostly unskilled labor such as maintenance, construction, or cleaning. They also learns life skills such as opening a bank account and time management, things that will help them when they transition into a real job. Jacobson said the program has potential in New Orleans, where construction jobs will be available for the next five to eight years.