Maxine Bryant, Ph.D., a lecturer in Armstrong State University’s Department of Criminal Justice, Social and Political Science, was recently named the project manager for the city of Savannah’s new gun violence reduction initiative, End Gun Violence: Step Forward.
In her role, Bryant will be charged with overseeing the project’s successful implementation and with developing collaboration between the city’s social service agencies, residents of Savannah, the faith community and the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department (SCMPD).
“This is a wonderful opportunity that will allow me to make a meaningful impact by aiding in the reduction of gun violence and violent crime in Savannah,” says Bryant. “My hope is to collaborate with Armstrong’s Department of Criminal Justice to assist with analyzing the data collected by SCMPD.”
End Gun Violence: Step Forward is an initiative that targets the most violent groups and gang members in the Savannah community by encouraging them to lay down their weapons and seek counseling, job training and other services provided by local organizations.
This approach is based on the Ceasefire model developed by the National Network for Safe Communities under the direction of criminologist David Kennedy and president of John Jay College in New York, Jeremy Travis. In July, Bryant traveled to New York with 20 Savannah community and criminal justice partners to meet with Kennedy. To date, more than 60 cities across the U.S. have successfully implemented similar violence reduction initiatives.
Bryant has extensive experience in criminal justice, corrections and offender restoration programs. She opened a federal halfway house for nonviolent offenders in Michigan, served as the director of re-entry for the mayor’s office in Indianapolis and acted as the re-entry coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Southern Indiana. She also contracted with Weed and Seed, a federal program that weeds out crime and drugs in declining neighborhoods, and participated in Project Safe Neighborhood, a federal crime and gun violence reduction program.
Since moving to Savannah, Bryant has participated in the Georgia Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative and the Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office re-entry roundtable. In May 2015, she also organized and held a conference at Armstrong that encouraged newly released prisoners to re-engage with the community through work, education and the use of local re-entry focused service providers.
For more information about the End Gun Violence: Step Forward initiative, visit www.scmpd.org/ end gun violence.