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Violence Reduction Program

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Violence Reduction Program
In 2005, CSOSA utilized Project Safe Neighborhoods funds to create the Violence Reduction Program (VRP) to address street-level violence in the District's Columbia Heights, Marshall Heights and Congress Heights neighborhoods. The VRP targets male offenders ages 18 to 35 whose criminal histories include violent, weapons, and/or drug distribution convictions. The goal of the Violence Reduction Program is to help these offenders:

  • develop non-violent approaches to conflict resolution,
  • increase their problem solving and communications skills,
  • establish an alternative peer network, and
  • learn to apply the anxiety-reduction techniques taught in the program.

Each year, CSOSA organizes groups of approximately 15 offenders each to participate in the Violence Reduction Program. The 24-week program is structured into three distinct phases. During Phase I of the program (6 weeks) offenders received comprehensive psychological and educational assessement and attend weekly sessions to introduce them to the program's cognitive behavioral intervention model, "Controlling Behavior and Learning to Manage It" or CALM.

During Phase II of the program (12 weeks) offenders participate in CALM training with the goal of reducing anger, violence and emotional loss of control. This group training utilizes role play, discussions, practical exercises and homework assignments to reinforce new skills.

Phase III of the Violence Reduction Program (6 weeks) focuses on aftercare and community reintegration. Offenders work directly with volunteer 'Community Life Coaches' who reinforce the use of the relaxation and stress management techniques learned in Phase II. Offenders also complete community service projects to repair the harm caused by their past criminal behavior, and participate in monthly VRP alumni groups.



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Employment Information

As a Federal agency with a distinctly local mission, CSOSA employees perform challenging work that directly affects public safety in the District of Columbia's neighborhoods.