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CU Fresh Start

CU Fresh Start is a community-led focused approach to deter gun violence. Focused deterrence gives individuals with a history of involvement with gun-related activity a chance to put down the gun and move in a different direction. If participants choose to put their guns down and engage with CU Fresh Start, they will be assigned a case manager to assess their needs and connect them to community resources. However, if they continue to engage in gun related activity, they will be face swift and certain consequences.

The CU Fresh Start model has three “Pillars” which allow the initiative to offer strength and balance in our approach. Each of the three pillars is vital for our efforts to be a success.

Law Enforcement Pillar:
These professionals assist to establish clear criteria to identify potential candidates, notify them of legal consequences of gun violence, and provide a clear opportunity to stop shooting. They then follow up with swift and certain consequences if violence continues.

Services Pillar:
Individuals who engage with CU Fresh Start are assigned a case manager to help them access available resources. The case manager works closely with participants, assessing their needs and helping connect them with relevant support services. These efforts focus on providing opportunities for the participants to help them achieve stability in their lives.

Community Pillar:
This group humanizes the effect of violence. It includes family and friends of participants, family and friends of local victims of gun violence, clergy and funeral directors, emergency medical personnel, neighborhood leaders and residents, former offenders, and elected officials. These community members support the participants by delivering the message that the entire community stands behind their decision to put down the guns. Individuals who have a history of involvement with gun-related activity are potentially eligible to engage with the CU Fresh Start Initiative.

There are two ways to engage:
Custom Notification:
  • Small group face to face meeting of identified community members referred by law enforcement for involvement in gun related activity and representatives from each of the three pillars.

  • Focused deterrence message is delivered to one participant with a personalized approach.

  • Delivers a clear message against violence while providing a genuine offer of help for those who wish to change their lives.

  • Occur more frequently than the call-in.

  • Delivered in a private, neutral setting.

  • Allows for a person to refer themselves or be referred by family, friends, and/or agencies to CU Fresh Start

  • Participant does not have to be on probation or parole, or even yet convicted of a crime.

  • Gives the community a chance to request an intervention of an individual who may be involved in gun-related activity.

  • Referred individuals are vetted through the CU Fresh Start process.

  • Custom notification delivered to eligible participants.

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Champaign County Community Coalition | Equity & Engagement Department
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