(GREENVILLE, SC). The Greenville Police Department has collaborated with The U.S. Attorney’s Office, 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, and S.C. Probation, Parole & Pardon Services and New Mind Health and Care, Inc., to initiate a violence reduction initiative named Greenville Safe Neighborhoods. The first session, held on March 27th, voluntarily enlisted eight repeat serious offenders into the pilot of the program.
Greenville Safe Neighborhoods is a unified, proactive police and community collaborative that engages, educates and empowers repeat serious offenders to obtain assistance, change behavior, make healthy life choices or suffer consequences of unified police/prosecutorial focus and priority. Predicated on the work of Professor David M. Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, the model aligns intervention and prosecutorial resources to create an appropriate mix of legal and ethical pressure to change offender behavior, reduce recidivism and severity, and reduce victimization. The Greenville Police Department has been working with its core partners for several months in planning, developing and resourcing the pilot program.
The Greenville Safe Neighborhoods initiative identifies offenders based upon their present and past criminal conduct. Offenders attend a meeting with local, state and federal law enforcement officials and prosecutors, and also with service providers, family and affected community members. In the meeting, offenders are offered various services or contacts to available services to help them address physical or psychological needs as a path to correcting behavior. They are also counseled in person and in writing of the unified commitment, at all levels of government, to focus, prosecute and seek maximum penalties for additional crimes committed in the future. The success of the program is two-fold: If the offender addresses his or her needs and does not reoffend, the offender and community are better served and safer; if the offender reoffends, the power of the state and federal governments are brought upon the offender to ensure the maximum penalties possible and to assure community safety through a more traditional path.