On March 1st, next Tuesday, the DC Council will vote again on the proposed stipend-based violence intervention program that it preliminarily approved (unanimously) on February 2nd as part of anti-crime legislation called the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Amendment Act of 2016 [Read text here. Read Committee Report here]. If it wins final approval by the District Council, it will head to the Mayor for action (and, ultimately, Congress would have to approve it under the District of Columbia Home Rule Act).
Are you in favor or against? Information and links are provided below to help you make up your mind. Then let your council member know how you feel. [Names and contact information here].
The proposed program, modeled on a 9-year-old program in Richmond, California, would identify individuals “who pose a high risk of participating in, or being a victim of, violent criminal activity” and then pay them a stipend to remain crime-free and follow a program “involving life planning, trauma informed therapy, and mentorship.”
The amount of the stipend is not specified but the fiscal impact statement submitted with the bill assumes a stipend of $9,000 for 50 individuals each year, based on the Richmond program.
For an in-depth look at the Richmond program, a violence intervention program adopted by Baltimore that isn’t stipend-based, and an existing program in DC to help at-risk youth called the Capital Guardian Youth Challenge Academy that the DC Attorney General would like to see expanded, read WAMU’s recent three-part series called DC’s New Angles on Fighting Crime:
- Part 1: Inside A California Anti-Crime Experiment That Resonates With Politicians In D.C.(Feb. 23, 2016)
- Part 2: Treating Street Violence As A Contagion, Baltimore Looks For More Than One Cure(Feb. 24, 2016)
- Part 3: Youth Program Points To Ways D.C. Can Be ‘Far More Creative’ Against Crime(Feb. 25, 2016)
For two opinion pieces in favor of the proposed DC stipend program:
- Our lives are at stake: Don’t let a cynical media derail D.C.’s homicide reduction bill (medium.com/@Joan Shipps, Feb. 15, 2016)
- Paying criminals not to commit crime may not be so funny after all (Washington Post, Feb. 8, 2016)
And here are two opinion pieces against the proposal:
- Here’s to a world where crime doesn’t actually pay (Los Angeles Daily News, Feb. 6, 2016)
- The New Protection Racket: Paying Criminals Not to Commit Crimes (The Fiscal Times, Feb. 4, 2016)
For additional background:
- Paying criminals to stay out of trouble? D.C. could be next city to try experiment (Washington Post, Feb. 7, 2016)
- D.C. Crime Bill Would Pay People to Avoid Committing Crimes (NYTimes, Feb. 4, 2016)
- DC Bill Would Pay People Stipends Not to Commit Crimes (ABCNews, Feb. 2, 2106)
- Is Paying People Not to Commit Crimes Effective? (www.governing.com, Feb. 8, 2016)