A Qualitative Analysis of the Recommended Implementation and Replication of the Cure Violence Model According to New York City and Chicago Program Staff Interviews
DeFries Gallagher, Ashleigh
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Gun violence is a significant threat to the health and safety of many urban youth in the United States. Gun violence also has a high social and economic cost. One analysis estimated that the annual cost of gun violence in the U.S. is $100 billion (Cook, 2000). To combat this issue of urban gun violence, Dr. Gary Slutkin developed the CeaseFire program in Chicago in 1995 in order to reduce youth firearm violence. The CeaseFire intervention (now called Cure Violence) is a community-based program that involves the use of street outreach workers (often former gang members or former drug dealers) who cultivate relationships with high-risk youth in high crime urban areas. An independent evaluation found some evidence that the Chicago program led to significant reductions in gun violence (Skogan, 2009). However, several other studies have found mixed results regarding the effectiveness of the intervention (Butts J. G., 2015) (Skogan, 2009) (Webster D. W., 2013) (Fox, 2015) (Picard-Fritsche, 2010) (Wilson J. C., 2011). This study’s main goal was to gain insight into the recommended implementation and replication of the Cure Violence model by conducting semi-structured interviews with current program staff at six sites in New York City and the one remaining Cure Violence site in Chicago. Eight major themes emerged from the Cure Violence staff interviews. The individual-level theme that emerged was about hiring practices/recommendations. Organization-level themes that emerged included maintaining fidelity to the original Cure Violence model, the inclusion of hospital and school responders in the program, recommended training, how to prevent staff burnout, and how to prioritize the program budget (Themes 2-7). For example, participants recommended that all programs include school and hospital responders (Themes 3 and 4). Interview participants mentioned the stress of such a dangerous job and emphasized the need for a staff therapist (Theme 6). Participants mentioned the importance of funding year-round employment programs and participant activities, increasing staff salaries, and organizing community events (Theme 7). The community-level theme that emerged was about the recommended relationship with the police force. The participants emphasized that they could not have any relationship with the police force (Theme 8).
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