Call-in gives offenders a second chance

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) brought in about a dozen young men who have served time in jail or been involved with gang activity for their Call-In program Saturday at the Youngstown Municipal Court.

“We are calling them to give them the message that the violence in our community has to stop,” said CIRV Coordinator Guy Burney. “Not only the violence has to stop, but we are also going to provide them with the resources to change if they choose to.”

CIRV is getting assistance from a number of different entities, including the judicial system, social service groups, the school system as well as faith-based groups to help the young men reenter society.

“This is an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, take the resources that are available, don’t end up where you came from,’” said Burney.

Reverend Willie Peterson, with the Center for Community Empowerment, will help provide mentoring and counseling for the young men along with other services.

“We can help them find jobs. We can help them get certified for jobs, what we call CQ’s,” said Peterson. “We can help them find a way to get their record expunged, depending on their charges.”

Youngstown Mayor John McNally supports the initiative and hopes to see a change in those that take advantage of the program. Burney recounted a story of two men who came through the program and are working and living on their own.

“”You got groups that want to help these individuals make a decision that’s going to better their life, reduce their chance of dying on the streets, reduce their chance of going to prison,” said McNally.

The Call-In event has been held six times since it started in 2012. Nearly 60 young men have gone through the program.

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