Thursday March 31, 2005
Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced a crime-fighting partnership that will target and track released convicts who pose the greatest risk for committing more violent crimes in Louisville.
Reducing Serious Violence Partnership, or RSVP, will combine the forces of nearly a dozen local, state and federal government agencies and area non-profit organizations to convince high-risk criminals to change their ways or face harsher penalties for future crimes.
“This community will not tolerate violence,” Abramson said. “For the targeted criminals, the choice is clear – get the help you need to turn your life around or face the consequences of a committed criminal justice system.”
The Louisville Metro Police Department and the Probation and Parole Division of the Kentucky Corrections Department will spearhead the state’s first multi-agency effort to target released convicts who are most likely to commit or become victims of violent crimes.
The RSVP team also includes the U.S. Attorney, Commonwealth Attorney, County Attorney, Louisville Metro Public Health Department, KentuckianaWorks, Jefferson County Public Schools, Coalition for the Homeless and No Murders Metro, an interdenominational coalition of ministers.
Over the next year, the program will provide more than 140 people released on probation or parole with the connections to critical services – from drug treatment programs to job-hunting help to faith-based efforts – that can help them become law-abiding citizens, said Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert White.
A database of the targeted convicts will let law enforcement agencies track active participants and those who refuse help, White said. People who commit additional crimes will face greater scrutiny and tougher punishment from the criminal justice system.
"With a committed team approach, we will reduce violence in our community by discouraging more criminals from continuing their destructive ways and making sure those who won’t change their ways ultimately spend more time behind bars,” White said.
Participants in the program will attend a mandatory “call-in” meeting where RSVP members will confront them with the consequences of continuing their violent behavior and outline the services available to change their lives including substance abuse treatment, mental health programs, employment and housing assistance, adult education and faith-based options.
The first group of two dozen participants will meet this evening. All are repeat offenders between the ages of 18 and 40 with a history of gun violence and drug activity, said Randy Focken, Deputy Commissioner of the Kentucky Corrections Department. The Louisville Office of the department’s Probation and Parole Division worked to identify the group using a specific set of criteria.
A new group of participants will be selected to enroll in RSVP every other month with the second group slated to begin another session in May.