Sessions Vows Expansion of Anti-Gun ‘Project Exile’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will expand the use of Project Exile, a program to reduce gun violence that FBI Director James Comey helped start in Richmond two decades ago when he was a federal prosecutor there. “We’ve seen a priority that’s slipped away from firearms on the federal level,” Sessions told law enforcement officials. “Firearms prosecutions have gone down. This downward trend is going to end.”

MO Settlement Called Powerful Message to Gun Sellers

Missouri gun store paid woman $2.2 million for selling her mentally ill daughter a gun that was used to kill her father, despite being warned it could happen. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says there are at least 10 similar civil cases pending, including in Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Texas.

Tackling Violent Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t?

A “Report Card” on evidence-based strategies for addressing violent crime—especially gun violence—can help move us beyond typical “knee-jerk” attitudes and focus on proven solutions.

Breaking the Cycle of Violence

Could hospital-based trauma intervention offer a strategy for dealing with urban violence? A program called Healing Hurt People (HHP) in the Philadelphia region employs trauma counselors at hospitals to engage victims of intentional violence, such as shootings, stabbings and assaults. “(These interventions) are part of a much broader public health strategy that seeks to intervene in as many places as possible,” says Dr. Arthur Evans, Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS). The program, first implemented at Philadelphia's Hahnemann University Hospital in 2007 by Dr. John Rich and Dr. Ted Corbin of Drexel University, is expected to be used in all level-one trauma centers in Philadelphia by the end of the year. It's run by individual hospitals, but the overall funding comes from Philadelphia's DBHIDS.

Violence in America: Can We Change This Picture?

Can America prevent or reduce the violence that shatters so many lives—and leaves so many communities and families bereft? The first step in getting there, a symposium at John Jay College was told yesterday, is addressing the social forces and the psychological traumas that create the conditions—sometimes from an early age—in which violence is a first reaction to adversity. In many of the country's most at-risk neighborhoods, young people are suffering a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which is not “post” but “consistent,” said Howard Pinderhughes, who teaches social and behavioral sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. “You go through these neighborhoods, (and you see memorial) altars springing up every other week. This is what kids walk by…this is what they see.

Is There a Link between Alcohol and Firearm Violence?

More than 32,000 people in the U.S. die from firearm injuries each year and about twice as many are injured by firearms— most of them young, male and members of minority groups—according to a study published in a special issue of Preventive Medicine focusing on gun violence. After a decline in firearm violence during the 1990s, the study found that firearm suicides and nonfatal assaults have increased in recent years. Annual costs stemming from firearm injuries exceed $48 billion, write Katherine Fowler, Linda Dahlberg, Tadesse Haileyesus and Joseph Annest, who are researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read the paper here. Other highlights from Preventive Medicine’s Special Issue on Epidemiology and Prevention of Gun Violence, edited by David Hemenway and Daniel W. Webster, include: An analysis of the relationship between firearm violence and alcohol.

Campaign 2016 and Criminal Justice

Next year's presidential contest is now well underway. With Hillary Clinton, the acknowledged frontrunner for the Democrats, officially in the race, and a slew of contenders vying (or likely to vie) for the Republican nomination, across a spectrum ranging from Jeb Bush to Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, it's a good time to begin asking where each of them stand on the criminal justice challenges facing the country. In our system, most of the gritty justice issues, from overcrowding in jails and prisons to police use of force and errant prosecutors, are dealt with on a state and local level—not by the feds. Nevertheless, leadership in the White House matters: it establishes priorities, frames the national agenda and sets a tone. And we clearly need leadership today.