By CBSNewYork Team

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Breaking the cycle of violence while they’re young.

That’s what Hudson County commissioners aim to do when they vote on a new program to support and motivate at risk youth.

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“We didn’t just start this work,” said Shaw Bruce. “It’s not always about incarceration, always locking up our kids.”

As CBS2’s Christina Fan reports, a group of formerly incarcerated men and women is trying to bring back peace to Jersey City.

Violence is so pervasive that steps away from an announcement to stop youth violence, there was a recent shooting.

Bruce is part of the new initiative, called Credible Messenger Program Hudson County, where at-risk youth on probation are paired up with adults who have had similar experiences.

The mentors build close relationships with youth participants over months, offering support and advice.

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“Many times the Credible Messenger is the one person who that young person can look to and believe in and trust,” said Credible Messenger Mentoring Movement Director Clinton Lacey.

In New York City, the program successful reduced youth recidivism by 60 percent. It’s why Hudson County Commissioner Jerry Walker, a former Seton Hall basketball star, pushed to bring the idea to his hometown.

“We can’t just go into the street and tell people ‘Stop doing this’ and don’t give them something else to do,” Walker said.

Especially when prosecutors say perpetrators are getting younger and younger.

“I’m seeing kids ages 13 and 14 involved with gun possession and shootings. It’s time we need to reach out to them,” said Chief Juvenile Assistant Prosecutor Hudson County Lisa Ledoux.

If the Board of Commissioners passes the initiative’s $500,000 budget, the one-year pilot program will be able to serve about 45 youth in the county.

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CBS2’s Christina Fan contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team