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    DC Proposal: Pay People Not to Commit Crime

    DC Proposal: Pay People Not to Commit Crimei
    March 24, 2016 4:16 AM
    Murder rates are again on the rise in many major U.S. cities after years of decline. In Washington, DC, the number of homicides even reached a seven year high last year. Now DC lawmakers want to fund a program that calls for paying money to "at risk" young people not to commit crime. In Washington, VOA's Chris Simkins has more on the story.
    Chris Simkins

    Murder rates are again on the rise in many major U.S. cities after years of decline. In Washington, DC, the number of homicides even reached a seven year high last year.  Now DC lawmakers want to fund a program that calls for paying money to "at risk" young people not to commit crime.

    Erica Briscoe once lived a life of crime but now she's an aspiring fashion designer, learning to make clothes for young people. 

    She said the training program has given her a new outlook on life.

    "It really opened me up for real and let me know that I can do it, and I will do, and it is a must that I do it because I'm good at it," said Briscoe.

    Erica said she is determined not to repeat past mistakes.

    "I use to always go to the grocery store to steal food just to have food in the house for me and my younger siblings. And it got bigger than that. I went out and started stealing cars, robbing people, breaking in peoples houses and served nine and a half months at the jail as a juvenile," she said.

    Erica turned her life around thanks in part to a program that gave her psychological support as well as job training skills.  For doing well and meeting certain conditions, she is paid a stipend of more than $8 an hour.

    "For some people you do have to pay a stipend to get them to do the right thing.  With me its different because I am gaining a lot of information to better myself to be successful and progress in life," said Briscoe.

    Now, Washington DC's city council wants to fund a stipend-based program to provide so called “at-risk” individuals with counseling, job training, and money to prevent them committing crimes.

    "Why can't we invest to help young people heal from their wounds and become productive citizens? So it is either we pay now or we pay later," said community activist Ronal Moten.

    Moten, who became an activist after getting out of prison, remembers a successful program eight years ago that paid young people $300 a month to stay out of trouble.

    "We are not talking about welfare.  We are talking about helping to sustain somebody.  Helping them get transportation, helping them put food on the table while we change the negatives in their life and then make them productive citizens where they are prepared for work or outreach workers and come back and do work in their community," said Moten.

    Moten said violent crime declined for four straight years in Washington until the stipend program was abandoned. But critics say another stipend program will produce few results and could cost the city nearly a half a million dollars to enroll about 200 people.  DC officials have not found the money.

    "We give rewards for information towards the closure of crimes, but not specifically to stay out of trouble," said Vendette Parker, DC’s police commander.

    Parker said the department cannot discuss the merits of the program.   But Moten hopes politics will not get in the way of progress and the anti-crime stipend program will be available to help young people stay on the right track.

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Anonymous
    March 24, 2016 8:19 PM
    Why not do away with the police, district attorneys and the courts? An absurd idea you say? Is it any less absurd to agree with this absolutely stupid proposal to pay them off?

    If there are too many criminals to deal with under the present circumstance, then build more prisons and streamline the judicial system to close legal loopholes, which created the revolving door approach to criminal justice. The criminals themselves should be forced to build their own prisons.

    A career criminal should have only one option open to them, life in penal servitude works for me. Put them to work at hard labor repairing the fast crumbling infrastructure, instead of allowing them to languish lazily behind bars at our expense, put them to work.

    This is a ridiculous idea made even more ridiculous that any intelligent person would sign off on it as being a reasonable solution to the problem.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 24, 2016 8:57 AM
    My question is; "Why should law abiding citizens always have to pay for criminals to help them do something or not to do something?" .. Her sob story on how she began her life of crime is laughable? .. Prisons are full of criminals with similar sob stories, that change throughout the years to get more sympathy so they can get paroled?

    When caught, every criminal always has a sob story on why they started their life of crime? .. A hundred million people were as poor as her family was, and they didn't resort to a life of crime? .. And if she fails to be a law abiding citizen now, will she return to her life of crime, [and then], we'd get another sob story on why she did it, and want another second or third chance? .. She shows no remorse whatsoever for her victims or for being a criminal, [but now], wants sympathy, money, an education, job training and a job, to stay out of prison? .. that's my opinion?

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