Fellow John Maki promotes, in Governing, federal pandemic relief funds as “Our Historic Opportunity to Improve Public Safety.” Maki writes:
To meet the needs of this moment, government leaders need to use data and research to form new community partnerships. I saw the promise of this kind of work firsthand as a public safety official overseeing the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA), the state administrative agency for Illinois’ Department of Justice grant programs. In two years, the state’s Victims of Crime Act fund increased more than fourfold, from approximately $17 million to more than $77 million. This unprecedented infusion resourced ICJIA to partner with crime victim services agencies and community stakeholders across Illinois to conduct the state’s first-ever victim needs assessment.
This not only strengthened existing services, but also funded new programs to address unmet needs, including piloting two trauma recovery centers, an evidence-based model designed to help the most underserved victims, including survivors of gun violence. Today, ICJIA supports five trauma recovery centers and a host of new violence prevention and trauma recovery programs for communities that have historically been the most harmed by crime and violence but least helped by government-funded services.