“We can’t turn a blind eye”: New Denver court program for teens caught with guns aims to mitigate cycle of youth violence

Five teenagers have been shot and killed in Denver this year as the city’s years-long youth violence epidemic continues, but leaders in the juvenile criminal legal system hope a new program will help stop the bloodshed.

A long-awaited court program began this month that officials hope will disrupt the cycle of violence by intervening in the lives of teenagers caught with guns before they are victims or perpetrators of violence.

Denver’s new Handgun Intervention Program accepted its first two participants on July 12 and is a collaboration between prosecutors, public defenders, probation officers, the juvenile court and community members, program leaders said.

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