Anti-Recidivism Program Targeting Previously Incarcerated Individuals Identified to be at Higher Risk of Involvement with Firearms Lands $2M from Feds

The $2 million federal grant is aimed at expanding the PRESS (Program for Reintegration, Engagement, Safety, and Support) initiative

From The New Haven Independent:

A city initiative to keep previously incarcerated individuals safe and out of prison has received a $2 million boost from the federal government.

At a Monday morning press conference, Mayor Justin Elicker was joined by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and a host of city officials to announce a new $2 million federal grant to expand the PRESS(Program for Reintegration, Engagement, Safety, and Support) initiative.

The PRESS initiative, which launched in March 2022 and targets previously incarcerated individuals who are identified to be at higher risk of involvement with firearms, aims to reduce recidivism and shooting-related incidents. The initiative’s recidivism rate is 14 percent.

Primarily, the grant will allow the initiative to expand its clientele to include individuals who have not yet been incarcerated but are still identified as higher risk, such as gang members. Currently, there are 78 active PRESS clients. 

The grant funds will allow the Connecticut Violence Intervention Program (CT VIP) to hire two new life-coaches who will work with clients. The money will also allow Project MORE to hire a career resource specialist who will be in conversation with employers and educational or training programs. The PRESSinitiative will also begin to work with clients’ families by adding a family case manager. 

Finally, additional supports include funding for basic needs and employment training programs that clients can access. 

During Monday’s press conference, which took place at CT VIP’s headquarters at 230 Ashmun St., Police Chief Karl Jacobson said, ​“In my 26 years of law enforcement, I always felt like law enforcement was dumped with all the responsibilities of society, and we didn’t have a lot of help. And now we have a lot of help.”