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Ruppersberger, Kinzinger Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to End the Cycle of Violence

Feb 12, 2020
Press Release
Legislation will provide federal funds for hospital-based violence intervention programs

(Washington, DC) – Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) today introduced bipartisan legislation to expand hospital-based violence intervention programs around the country. The “End the Cycle of Violence Act” provides $10 million in federal grants to hospitals that offer services to victims of violent crime while they are recovering from their injuries.

Trauma centers see many “repeat customers” caught in a revolving door of violent re-injury. In fact, one of the leading risk factors for violent injury is a prior violent injury.

“Violent crime costs American taxpayers more than $42 billion – from police, courts and jails, to the medical expenses of victims, to the lost wages to both victims and perpetrators,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “We need to find innovative solutions to stop the violence. The violence intervention program at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center has shown tremendous promise and I hope this bill will enable other hospitals around the country to model their strategy.”

“We undoubtedly have a gun violence epidemic in America, and I believe the community plays a critical role in addressing this crisis,” said Congressman Kinzinger. “Today, I’m proud to introduce legislation with my colleague to fund violence intervention programs. By supporting victims with the resources and education to pursue a different path, we can stop the vicious cycle of gun violence and give people hope for a better tomorrow.”

The bill is modeled off the Violence Intervention Program at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, where a staggering 20 percent of patients are victims of violence, usually stabbings and shootings.  These patients are a captive audience, confined to a bed and off the streets, if only for a few days, program administrators say. 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.

At Shock Trauma, program participants 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 requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to select existing and aspiring violence prevention programs from across the country to receive federal grants for expanding services or studying effectiveness. At the end of a 3-year pilot, each hospital will report its findings back to the federal government. Awards will range from $250,000 to $500,000.

The bill was first introduced by Congressman Dutch 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.