Violence Prevention Initiative

Violence is a significant public health problem impacting the health and well-being of communities throughout the United States. Despite reductions in other areas of premature death, the Allegheny County homicide rate has risen in recent years. In 2017, the homicide total for the City of Pittsburgh was 57 (remained the same from 2016) and for the Suburbs 50 (increase of 2% from 2016. While only thirteen percent of Allegheny County residents are Black or African American, eighty three percent of the victims were Black. Twelve percent of the homicides occurred in just 1 ZIP code of Allegheny County's 130 neighborhoods: 15206.

The Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) is a multi-part effort dedicated to addressing community violence led by Richard Garland and Steven Albert. The main programs of the VPI are the Homicide Review and Gunshot Reoccurring Injury Prevention Services.

Reimagine ReEntry: holistic Services for Returning citizens in Allegheny county

It is an enormous public burden to place and keep a person behind bars. In Pennsylvania, it costs more than $42,000 per year to keep one person in the state corrections system, and this does not count the public safety intervention, court appointments, local jail time, and administrative efforts it takes to first place a person. Outside of public expenditures, the cost to victims and the families of those in corrections is massive, including legal fees, phone calls, transportation time and expense, loss of income and family support, and separated families.

Once released from state corrections, two of every three people across the US are rearrested for a new offense and about half are reincarcerated within three years of their release. In Pennsylvania, sixty-three percent of parolees return to corrections within three years.

When returning to society, these men and women face immense systemic barriers that are only magnified by incarceration, such as low employment, lack of healthcare, limited education, a prevalence of homelessness, and much more.

With the significant cost of incarceration to states, communities, and families, and the massive coordination involved amongst systems, what if that same effort and investment was put into their reentry to society? What if returning citizens had a comprehensive, fully-invested approach to their exit from incarceration and reentrance into their communities?

Reimagine Reentry program aims to address the challenges of reentrance and recidivism by providing opportunities, reducing barriers, and supporting returning citizens in a holistic way. The program follows a strengths-based approach to address the unique needs of returning citizens after they leave the corrections system.

Our services include: 

  • Cooperative case management and mentoring
  • Workforce development and training
  • Family reunification education
  • Housing assistance planning

Reimagine Reentry works with key community partners in training fields such as: 

  • Construction
  • Horticulture
  • Culinary
  • Manufacturing
  • Administration
  • And more! 

Contact us

Reimagine Reentry Program
2038 Bedford Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15219

Have a program or resource for returning citizens? Questions about the program and referrals? Contact us below! 

Management Team: 

Richard Garland, Director

Art Terry, Operations

Lindsay Angelo, Administration

Gina Brooks, Case Management



GRIPS is a hospital-based violence intervention program with the goal of preventing firearm assault re-injury and criminal involvement.  Firearm assault survivors are recruited from hospital sites and offered case management and social support. With the help of GRIPS interventionists, participants outline goal areas (e.g., employment, completing GED) to address during the 6-month duration of the intervention. Participants complete a questionnaire at baseline and follow-up. 

University of Pittsburgh IRB#PRO13120052 and #NCT02642224.

Homicide Review

The Homicide Review has been examining homicides in the City of Pittsburgh since 2012. In 2014 the Homicide Review expanded to all of Allegheny County. The Homicide Review combines epidemiologic surveillance with community-based participation to better understand neighborhood dynamics associated with violence. The ultimate goal of the Homicide Review is to develop intervention strategies for reducing the homicide rate in Allegheny County. 

Key Findings from 2018 Homicide Review Report

  • Homicide victimization continues to be unevenly distributed across populations or places. While only 12 percent of Allegheny County residents are black or African American, 74 percent of the victims were black. Ten percent of the homicides occurred in just one zip code of Allegheny County's 130 neighborhoods, zip code 15217. 
  • Firearms are the main cause of death. Cause of death in 90% of homicides was gunshot wounds. Including the 11 victims in the mass shooting. 
  • Social context matters for homicide victimization. Chronic, multigenerational involvement in violence and illegal activities; additional opportunities for conflict through increased use of social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and websites attracting extremists); prevalence of drugs, alcohol, and access to firearms; biases and violence as normative behavior were identified as relevant in the homicides. 

Homicide Review Report Archive


Gina Brooks
Project coordinator
Community Violence Prevention Project
Homicide Review

Additional VPI affiliates

Faculty, staff, and students in the Departments of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences (Todd Bear, Lora Ann Bray, Jessica Burke, Patricia Documet) and Epidemiology (Andrea Arrington, Anthony Fabio).