CRJ President and CEO Deb O'Brien shakes hands with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Crime and Justice Institute recently received a grant through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety to continue CJI’s 16-year partnership with the city of Fall River working to reduce youth violence.

Last week, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the release of $11.2 million in competitive Senator Charles E. Shannon Jr., Community Safety Initiative (CSI) Grant Program funds to communities and local partners in support of collaborative solutions to address and respond to youth violence. The CSI program funded 15 municipal grants consisting of 27 cities and 14 research partners in this round.

CJI was awarded $63,950 to continue working with community organizations, city and county agencies, and local and state law enforcement dedicated to reducing youth and gang violence in Fall River. The city separately received a $629,910 Shannon grant.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced the awards alongside several grant recipients and local partners at the South End Community Center in Springfield. The community center offers youth development and recreational programs made possible with CSI funding received through its partnership with the City of Springfield.

“We are proud to join with municipalities and local partners to bolster community efforts to prevent and respond to youth violence and gang activity,” Polito said. “Shannon grants support the collaborative spirit and vital teamwork that achieves safer communities, violence reduction, and sustained positive life decisions for at-risk youth.”

Since 2006, CJI has worked closely with its partners in Fall River to use data to guide and assess their efforts. That work has included helping the city enhance strategies and develop new initiatives by collecting and analyzing youth crime data, conducting interviews and surveys, and assisting Fall River in implementing best practices in this type of collaborative initiative.

“We’re grateful and humbled that CJI’s partnership with Fall River continues to be recognized for its positive impact on the lives of individuals, particularly young people,” said Deb O’Brien, president and CEO of Community Resources for Justice, CJI’s parent organization. “This project is directly related to our mission of changing lives and building stronger and safer communities, and we look forward to many more years of supporting the incredible work of our partners in Fall River.”

Over the past year, the Shannon CSI funded 141 partner organizations and approximately 140 fulltime equivalent positions to address youth gang violence within these communities. In 2021, Shannon CSI partners served over 15,000 young people across the commonwealth, representing a dramatic increase of youth participation in Shannon CSI-funded programs compared to 2020.

The grant program is named after the late state Sen. Charles E. Shannon of Winchester. Sen. Shannon represented Massachusetts’ Second Middlesex district of Winchester, Woburn, Somerville, and Medford from 1991 until he died in 2005 from leukemia. Before serving in the legislature, he spent 20 years on the Lexington Police Department.