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Should Ex-Offenders Be Involved In Efforts To End Violence?

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Host Naimah Latif

Host Naimah Latif

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As  residents of violence plagued neighborhoods wrestle with whether to demand more police presence in order to stop crime, one organization in Chicago, Ceasefire, claims it is making great progress in curbing conflict between rival gangs. The police, however, are concerned that many of the individuals involved in Ceasefire are themselves ex-offenders.  There is skepticism as to whether those formerly affliliated with gangs and those who have been incarcerated for crimes are truly rehabilitated. Can people who were once part of the problem become part of the solution? How do we know when someone is "reformed?" Are we stigmatizing people who have made mistakes by barring them from helping address a problem, when they know best how to address the problem? Who should residents trust to truly be working in their best interest, police or former gang members? Can both sides work together for the good of the people?

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