In 2011, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick provided funding to the state’s urban communities to identify disengaged young men, many of them students ages 14–24, at “proven risk” for getting shot or shooting someone.
This Massachusetts Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) is the statewide cornerstone violence crime prevention program operated by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). SSYI uses a multi-faceted public health approach that links these proven risk young men from 11 grantee sites across Massachusetts with community partners to provide supports for employment, housing, mental health, education, and family services.
The WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center, in partnership with the American Institutes for Research and the Justice Research Institute, studied how the initiative was developed and implemented across each of the communities.
A subsequent outcome evaluation, highlighted by the Governor in December 2014, found significant benefits to both the men participating in the program and the overall safety of the community at a notable cost savings to the public.
Highlights include a reduction of nearly 1,000 violent victimizations in SSYI communities between 2011 and 2013, and participants engaged in the initiative were 58% less likely to be incarcerated compared to similar young men in the community.
This project was funded by the Massachusetts EOHHS.