House Passes Bipartisan Ruppersberger-Kinzinger Bill to Reduce the Cycle of Violence in America
(Washington, DC) – The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday unanimously passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) that provides $10 million in federal grants to hospitals that want to create or expand intervention programs for patients who are recovering from injuries as a result of violent crime. H.R. 1260, The Bipartisan Solution to Cyclical Violence Act of 2021, addresses the revolving door of violent crime in communities across America, which costs taxpayers more than $42 billion in expenses related to police, courts, jails, medical treatment for victims and even lost wages to both victims and perpetrators.
Congressman Ruppersberger authored the bill after learning about a highly-successful intervention program at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where 20 percent of patients are victims of violence, usually stabbings and shootings, that have occurred on the streets of Baltimore and many are “repeat customers.” The Bipartisan Solution to Cyclical Violence Act provides federal grants ranging from $250,000 to $500,000 to hospitals across the country to start or expand similar violence prevention programs. Recipient hospitals will report their findings back to the federal government at the end of a three-year pilot.
“I am grateful that my colleagues in the House unanimously agree that this bill will help victims of violent injury regain their footing in the community before they become repeat victims or even perpetrators themselves, helping to end the cycle of violent crime,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “Not only will this new grant program ultimately save tax dollars, it will also shift social work away from police and first responders, and back to the experts in mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, unemployment and other areas that often afflict victims of violent crime.”
“Mental health issues continue to spike across the country, and unfortunately, so do acts of violence. Often times, the victims are caught in a vicious cycle of violence. By supporting them with the resources and education to pursue a different path, we can stop the cycle of violence and give people hope for a better tomorrow,” said Congressman Kinzinger. “We must work together to help and heal those who are struggling and the Bipartisan Solution to Cyclical Violence Act is a perfect example of that effort to enact policies that will have real and lasting impact in our communities. And I'm proud to see it pass the House today.”
The bill – which was also passed during the 116th Congress – was adopted under suspension of the rules. Bipartisan companion legislation is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate later this week.
At Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center, program participants receive a bed-side assessment, counseling and a broad range of support that could include groceries, bus money, substance abuse treatment, job training or help finding affordable housing. Patients have shown an 83 percent decrease in re-hospitalization due to intentional violent injury, a 75 percent reduction in criminal activity, and an 82 percent increase in employment.
The bill was first introduced by Congressman Ruppersberger in 2019, when it was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Trauma Nurses, the National Association of School Resource Officers, the National League of Cities, the National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs, the National District Attorneys Association, and Cure Violence. Since, that list has grown to now include the American Hospital Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, and local elected officials. cy Physicians, and local elected officials.