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United States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
Press Release

June 28, 2011


Hartford, Conn. – More than 500 law enforcement officers, educators, elected and appointed officials, court employees, child protective services providers, healthcare professionals, victim service specialists, religious leaders and community members gathered today at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford to attend the 2011 Conference on Youth Violence Prevention and Positive Youth Development. The conference was hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and The Justice Education Center, Inc., through the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative.

The conference featured opening remarks by U.S. Attorney David Fein, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts and ATF Special Agent in Charge Guy Thomas, followed by a keynote address by Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Attorney General Eric Holder has made youth violence prevention and positive youth development a priority for the Department of Justice, and this conference was designed to present and discuss the latest policy reforms and promising research, practice and evidence-based programs in these areas,” said U.S. Attorney David B. Fein.

“Too many of our nation’s children are stripped of their innocence and the promise of bright futures by their exposure to violence and crime, which leads them to seek refuge in drugs and crime rather than to pursue more hopeful paths,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Throughout the country, the Justice Department and our partners are fighting back by creating local anti-violence strategies that combine vigorous criminal enforcement efforts with effective crime prevention programs and strong prisoner reentry initiatives. We can and we will make our communities safer by preventing violence against children, reducing their exposure to crime and offering them the guidance that is needed to stop them from committing that first crime.”

All conference attendees participated in a plenary session with state leaders on significant policy reforms in juvenile justice, and were addressed by Steve Perry, Ph.D., the founder and principal of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, and David Kennedy, the director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Following presentations by the featured speakers, conference attendees attended breakout panel sessions on

• Juvenile Court: Community-Based Alternatives and Court-Ordered Services
• Reaching Youth Through the Power of Music, Arts and Sports
• Federal, State and Private Funding Priorities for Positive Youth Development and Violence Prevention
• The Role of Police in Preventing Youth Violence
• Positive School Climate: Promoting Safe Schools, Educational Success and Emotional Well-Being
• “Stop Snitching” Creating a Climate of Trust: Are There Strategies That Work to Encourage Youth to Report Violent Crime?
• The Role of Faith-Based Communities in Reducing Youth Violence
• Understanding and Addressing the Effects of Domestic Violence on Children: Creating Trauma Informed Systems
• Ex-Offender Perspectives on Positive Youth Interventions
• Gangs, Drugs and School Shootings: How to Identify Youth Who Are Disenfranchised and Disengaged
• Results-Based Accountability: Developing Accountability Systems for Juvenile Justice Programs
• Children of Incarcerated Parents: Issues, Needs and Responses
• Project Safe Neighborhoods: A Federal Response to Youth Gun Violence

“While the vigorous enforcement of gun, gang and organized drug crime remains a core mission of the Department of Justice, we also are committed to finding creative ways to end the cycle of violence that gravely impacts so many communities in Connecticut and across our nation,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “We hope that this conference presented helpful new information, stimulated productive dialogue and provided opportunities to create new alliances in this most important area.”

The United States Attorney’s Office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative (“PSN”) is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, and improving the safety of residents of Connecticut’s cities. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Six federal prosecutors and one law enforcement coordinator coordinate PSN/Anti-Gang task forces in each of nine Connecticut cities. Each PSN task force is composed of local and state law enforcement officers along with ATF, FBI and DEA special agents. A state and federal prosecutor are assigned to each task force. The task forces meet regularly to discuss ongoing investigations, recent shooting incidents, pending gun cases and overall strategies to address gang violence. State and federal prosecutors also work with the officers and agents on the task forces to conduct regular training sessions with local police departments to discuss relevant issues in gun and gang investigations. And, working with state probation and parole officers and federal probation officers, members of the PSN task forces in most PSN cities conduct regular adult and youthful offender meetings.

Since 1976, The Justice Education Center has been working to prevent and reduce crime and improve public safety. The Center’s efforts have focused on critical issues ranging from youth-at-risk and court reform to child sexual abuse, sentencing reform, hate crimes, positive youth development, health/wellness, and juvenile justice reform. The Center has also played a key role in developing statewide juvenile and adult alternative sanctions with the State of Connecticut.




Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722





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