Project Safe Neighborhoods

Partnership with the Office of the United States Attorney, District of Connecticut

For over 10 years, The Justice Education Center and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut have collaborated on initiatives to reduce violence and curb juvenile crime. Entitled Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the U.S. Department of Justice program is focused primarily on youth ages 14 -17 and enhancing community safety.  The Center serves as the fiscal representative and grants manager for PSN.

Innovative community outreach programming is a priority of the partnership between the Office of the United States Attorney, District of Connecticut and The Justice Education Center. This includes awareness and education campaigns designed to curb gun and gang violence for children and younger youth.

Individualized Services for Youth-at-Risk

Sherry Haller, Executive Director and John H. Durham U.S. Attorney, District of Connecticut, at the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference.

The Center works closely with youth services, juvenile probation, police, traditional and alternative high schools to identify and engage those youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system or at serious risk of engaging in criminal activity. The Center’s staff work to engage youth in educational, vocational and individualized support services. Individual Career Plans are developed with specific action steps and timelines to accomplish behavioral, educational and career goals. These goals align with each school district’s Student Success Plans. Increasingly, The Justice Education Center is developing partnerships for mentoring and trauma interventions for youth who have experienced multiple trauma-related and family issues.

Adult Interventions

The Justice Education Center serves as the fiscal representative and grants manager of Connecticut’s Project Longevity. The project focuses on the reduction of gun and gang violence in the inner cities in partnership with the Governor’s Office, Office of Policy and Management and the Office of the United States Attorney. Project Longevity staff, law enforcement, community and social service partners join together to focus directly with gangs. The Project emphasizes both the consequences of further gun violence and the assistance that is available for gang members to turn their lives around.

PSN 2014

The Connecticut Project Safe Neighborhood Youth Opportunity Initiative called in over 200 youth in Bridgeport and New Haven beginning in October of 2015.  Of these approximately 200 youth that participated in call-ins, 133 were enrolled in the Career Pathways program, a program that provided educational remediation and vocational training after school at Vocational Technical High Schools in Bridgeport and New Haven.

  • Of these 133 enrolled in Career Pathways programming,
  • 94 (70.6%) received credits toward graduation.
  • 56 (42.1%) received OSHA 10 certification
  • 35 (26.3%) received CPR certification
  • 28 (21.0%) graduated from HS (many were not yet ready to graduate)

PSN 2016

One hundred and forty-five (145) youth were recruited to take part in a PSN intervention designed to warn about the dangers of violent crime and gun possession, and provide subsequent services. On enrollment, 29 participants (20%) had justice involvement prior to enrolling in the program. Following the PSN intervention, the total number of youth with justice involvement since enrollment decreased to 11 participants (7.6%). A McNemar’s test determined that the difference in the proportion of justice involved youth pre- and post-intervention was statistically significant (p < .01).  Although these figures do not control for time at risk in the pre- and post-intervention periods (as well as other possible confounding factors), they suggest that participating youth benefited from the PSN 2016 intervention.

In addition, arrest and adjudication figures in the 6 and 12-month time periods are relatively low, considering PSN youth typically are higher risk and need than the Connecticut youth population.