Anti-violence program to target high-risk youth in Baltimore

BALTIMORE (AP) — A new anti-violence program will focus on helping high-risk young men in Baltimore without relying on the criminal justice system.

News outlets report that Mayor Catherine Pugh announced plans Wednesday to bring the Massachusetts-based Roca group to Baltimore for four years.

Roca works with boys and men between the ages of 17 and 24 with criminal records, drug abuse problems and a risk of committing crime. The program mentors them over a four-year period, and most participants get connected to jobs.

Roca CEO Molly Baldwin says she expects to launch the program in July with 75 men, with plans to grow to nearly 400 by the fourth year.

The initiative is expected to cost at least $16 million. Pugh has secured $10 million from charities and the private sector.