This crisis is complex and long-standing, and it is often tempting to look for quick fixes to address violence—especially because the stakes are often life or death. But quick fixes often ignore the long-standing drivers of poverty and violence. We truly believe that if we invest in proven interventions, recognize the trauma, and address the needs of our communities, we can begin to heal our state.

Cycle of Risk calls for a spectrum of interventions and approaches to reduce violence and poverty and treat trauma, including:

  • Reforming the criminal justice system.
    The justice system levies disproportionate consequences on people of color and poses barriers to rising out of poverty. Making the justice system more humane, rehabilitative, and equitable would reduce the trauma experienced in prison, reduce the likelihood of violence, and keep fewer people in poverty.
  • Investing in educational achievement and health care.
    Investing in policies and programs that encourage educational achievement could have major effects on violence reduction. Solutions like changing the inequitable funding of schools in Illinois and better equipping education professionals, would give students the resources they need to succeed.
  • Increasing job quality and promoting employment opportunities.
    Providing employment opportunities has been shown to have large impacts on reducing violence. One estimate predicts that adding 50 new jobs that non-college-educated males would be qualified to hold in a neighborhood would reduce the crime rate by 4.4 per 1,000 people.
  • Addressing the affordable housing crisis.
    Supporting and expanding subsidized housing programs can help individuals and families experiencing poverty afford housing and create diverse, inclusive communities where all have access to education, jobs, transportation, and health care.
  • Passing a responsible budget that includes adequate revenue for these critical services.
    We must pass a budget that funds crucial services in after-school programs, domestic violence programming, reentry programs, housing and homelessness programs, and anti-violence programs. As we advance new revenue options, we must also advance a fair tax system in Illinois for individuals and corporations, where higher rates apply to higher income levels and lower rates to lower income levels to more equitably generate the income the state of Illinois needs to ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
  • Incorporating a trauma-informed approach into services.
    Trauma is the overwhelming consequence of violence—and unaddressed trauma can greatly harm people’s well-being, life prospects, and public safety.


What follows is a list comprised of some recommendations, best practices and tools for moving forward more boldly and collectively with a response to violence and trauma across Illinois. This is by no means a complete list of resources but an introduction to just some of the solutions listed above. You can find our full list of resources in our report.