Springfield – A recent study conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab revealed that an initiative pushed by members of the Senate Black Caucus resulted in lower violent crime arrest during summer months. The initiative is called the Youth Employment Program, and it provided jobs for thousands of at-risk youth during the summer months.

Participants held a variety of jobs, ranging from camp counselors to administrative aides. A majority of the participants were from neighborhoods where unemployment rates are over 19 percent.

"Providing our youth with alternatives to being in the streets is necessary to ensure the next generation has the chance to thrive," said Senator Emil Jones III, Chairman of the Senate Black Caucus. "Moving into the next General Assembly, I hope Governor Rauner will take note and make funding for the program a priority.

Senator Jones believes that the summer jobs programs keep at risk youth from entering into the judicial system by having an alternative activity that helps them develop career skills.

"Housing an inmate in Cook County jail costs around $45,000 per year as opposed to the summer Youth Employment Program that costs around 3,000 per year per participant," Jones said. "Summer employment saves taxpayers money in the long run."

The program provided employment and job skills training for more than 1,800 youth who worked part-time at partnering local businesses, government offices and non-profit organizations.

"The summer months are primarily when we see a spike in crime across the city. If we want to see continued reductions in crime and create a stronger workforce, then summer youth programs are where we can get our highest return on investing in our youth," Jones said.

A study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab found that violent crime arrests decreased by 43 percent for teens who were employed and received support from mentors.

"Violent crime is incredibly regressive in its impact—it takes the greatest toll on society's most vulnerable," said Roseanna Ander, Executive Director of the Crime Lab. "There is far too little policy and research attention, as well as, precious few resources focused on adolescents, especially those from disadvantaged neighborhoods who are really struggling."

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District Office
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Chicago, IL 60628
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