Visitors Call Providence Nonviolence Program a Model

Aug 9, 2013

Visitors from Chicago and Newark, New Jersey, are completing on Friday a two-day visit examining the work of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence.

Christopher Mallette heads a three-year-old program called the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy. Mallette says the Chicago strategy, like the one in Providence, utilizes street workers who try to mediate disputes and prevent violent conflicts.

"But we don’t have anything as comprehensive or as collaborative as what you have here in Providence, Rhode Island, and I think this is the model to have law enforcement working with the street outreach workers, understanding boundaries, what you can share and what you can’t share," Mallette says.

The visit by police and nonviolence officials comes after the Providence institute had to sharply cut its staff earlier this year due to a reduction in funding. Institute head Teny Gross says the level of violent crime this summer in Rhode Island’s capital is roughly consistent with previous years. He says the institute is working to attract more financial support.