Gov. Pritzker signs executive order declaring gun violence a public health crisis

State News

CHICAGO (WMBD) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order Monday declaring gun violence a public health crisis and launching a statewide approach to reducing gun violence.

Pritzker also said he will invest $250 million in state funds over a three-year period to establish a data-driven, community-based violence prevention initiative called the “Reimagine Public Safety” plan.

“Every neighborhood and every home deserve to be free from violence, and the State of Illinois is making an unprecedented statewide investment in the pursuit of violence reduction through the Reimagine Public Safety Act,” Pritzker said. “Reimagine Public Safety is an evidence-based and data-driven approach focusing on violence prevention, youth development, and the provision of trauma-based services. And we are putting an unprecedented amount of dollars — $250 million — on the ground to see it through.”

As part of the executive order, state agencies are required to work with the new Office of Firearm Violence Prevention (OFVP) to address systemic causes of gun violence and develop trauma-informed and equity-based strategies.

Four key elements are included in the violence prevention approach:

  • High-risk youth intervention programs that have been proven to reduce involvement in the criminal or juvenile justice system, referrals of teens into therapeutic programs that address trauma recovery and other mental health services.  
  • Violence prevention services, including street-based violence interruption work, emotional or trauma related therapy, housing, employment, job training/placement, family engagement, and wrap-around support services.
  • Youth development programs, including after school and summer programming to increase school attendance and school performance, reduce criminal justice system involvement, and build social-emotional persistence and intelligence.
  • Trauma recovery services for young people, funded by Medicaid, designed and implemented by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, to address trauma recovery from chronic exposure to firearm violence. A team-based model of care will include case management and school support services, group and individual therapy, and evidence-based family systems interventions.

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