The traditional conversation around services centers on a presumed lack of resources, but the hard fact is that resources are not the issue. The very best reentry initiatives produce nearly no impact.4 Beyond that, the core street population the NNSC addresses is extreme even with within the reentry category – they are both the most active and the most vulnerable to be found (our research shows that at a time when the national homicide rate is about 4:100,000, their homicide victimization rate can reach 3,000:100,000). Addressing homicide and serious violent crime means addressing them, but existing social service practices simply do not work.
Over the last two years, the NNSC has made it a priority to face this reality.5 We have worked with a high-level group of national experts with deep experience with the most serious street offenders; reentry; and GVI and other focused antiviolence initiatives. That process has been extremely productive and has produced a clear assessment of the reasons traditional approaches have failed and how we can do better. We have framed a more realistic approach, replacing the original “social services” framework with a broader conception carefully tailored to the special, core street population, its situation, and its needs. The NNSC and our group of experts have begun to call this approach “support and outreach.”