Importantly, high poverty areas frequently experience a number of other
challenges that impede their ability to manage disproportionately high stress loads,
including abnormally high rates of unemployment, a disappearing jobs base and faltering
commercial corridors.43 In the wake of these challenges, the illegal narcotics industry has
become a staple of Chicago’s underground economy, employing an estimated 4000
people in Cook County annually and contributing to a fifteen-fold increase in arrest rates
for drug violations between 1964 and 2012.44 The severity of these numbers imply that
high levels of violence in Chicago are linked to broader patterns of marginalization,
including weak neighborhood labor markets and struggling human development systems
like schools. This marginalization subsequently creates an increased susceptibility to
trauma and harm, such as adverse childhood experiences and adolescent exposure to
Similar to the research on poverty, the literature on trauma has grown
extensively46 in recent years and has pointed to serious, sustained impacts on human
stress levels.47 A cornerstone of this research is the landmark Adverse Childhood
Experiences (“ACEs”) Study by Rob Anda and Vince Felitti.48 Drawing from a research
sample of more than 9500 adults,49 the ACEs Study found statistically-sound correlations
between the number of traumatic events a person faced in his or her childhood and the
43 Jamie Peck & Nik Theodore, Carceral Chicago: Making the Ex-Offender Employability Crisis, 32 INT’L
J. URB. & REGIONAL RES. 251, 255 (2008); Angela Caputo, Loopholes, CHI. REP. (Jan. 1, 2011),
44 In 2012, the Chicago Police Department made 35,088 drug arrests, compared with 2232 drug arrests in
1964. Mick Dumke, Heroin, LLC, CHI. READER (Dec. 4, 2013),
45 See Christina Paxson & Jane Waldfogel, Work, Welfare and Child Maltreatment, 20 J. LAB. ECON. 435,
436 (2002) (analyzing the correlation between the socioeconomic status of families and childhood
maltreatment). Neglect and abuse are more prevalent among children with working mothers, absent fathers,
two non-working parents, or children living in extreme poverty. Id. at 448. Extreme poverty is defined as
an income under seventy-five percent of the official poverty line. Id. at 435, 448.
46 Between 1991 and 2012, the number of research articles focusing on trauma increased from 1950 to
47,000. Paula P. Schnurr, Trauma, PTSD, and Physical Health, PTSD RES. Q. (Nat’l Ctr. for PTSD),
Summer 1996, at 8 (noting that the Published International Literature On Traumatic Stress database cited to
1950 papers in 1991); PTSD: National Center for PTSD, Professional, U.S. DEP’T VETERANS AFFAIRS,
http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pilots-database/purpose-and-scope.asp (last updated Jan. 3, 2014)
(noting that the Published International Literature On Traumatic Stress database contained over 47,000
references as of July 2012).
47 NATIONAL CHILDHOOD TRAUMATIC STRESS NETWORK BROCHURE 5, 6, available at
http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/nctsn_brochure_final.pdf; ATT’Y GEN. NAT’L TASK
FORCE ON CHILDREN EXPOSED TO VIOLENCE, DEFENDING CHILDHOOD 41 (2012).
48 See Vincent J. Felitti et al., Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the
Leading Causes of Death in Adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, 14 AM. J. PREV.
MED. 245 (1998).
49 The researchers mailed a questionnaire to 13,494 adults who completed a medical evaluation at a large
HMO, 9508 of whom responded. Id. at 245.