Below the Fold - cash for criminals?

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Hey Below the Fold fam,

At the start of the year, we shared how 11 U.S. cities are considering (or starting) universal income programs, a form of monthly payments for low income, formerly incarcerated, and undocumented residents. 

Separately, the pandemic has led to a rise in gun violence across the nation with some cities struggling to address the issue or even hire enough police force to tackle it. But today, we’re digging into a unique approach that combines these discussions...
TODAY'S STORY
California cities experiment with cash incentives to reduce gun crimes
Thu Sep 2

As gun violence increases across the U.S., San Francisco is responding with a unique approach: paying people to not commit crimes. The city’s Dream Keeper Fellowship pilot program launches next month with 10 “at-risk” participants. Candidates will undergo an intensive process including an interview, referral, and assessment process to ensure each is ready to make a change to a crime-free lifestyle.

In exchange, participants will be paid $300 monthly stipend with the opportunity to earn up to $200 more by reaching milestones such as landing a job interview or regularly meeting with their assigned mentor. Critics claim the program is handing out cash to criminals, but advocates argue otherwise, saying it will:
  • Address the root cause of criminality and prevent gun crime in the future. Richmond, CA has had a similar program in place since 2010 where gun homicides decreased 55% and shootings 43% over a 10-year period.
  • Save taxpayer money by reducing prison spending and instead transitioning dollars into neighborhoods of color that are disproportionately affected by gun violence.
Some hope the program will address the city’s “ghost gun” problem, aka guns that can be bought and built without a background check. Ghost guns are increasingly involved in murders, assaults, and other violent crimes. San Francisco police have seized 164 ghost guns in 2020 alone. The city is even suing three California companies — Blackhawk Manufacturing Group, GS Performance, and MDX Corp — for making and distributing such guns to California residents.

Overall, other versions of guaranteed income programs have seen success across the country, with studies showing that the funds are primarily used for transportation, food, and bills. Minimizing these cost barriers helps increase possibilities in employment by simply giving people a means to commute to a job.

🎬 Take Action

 
Want to see if your city is considering a guaranteed income program? The Mayors for a Guaranteed Income lists resources for every city working to implement.
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RESOURCE CENTER

NBC Bay Area:
(Where we found this story)
2 weeks old | 3 minutes long
The Crime Report:
Details of the program
2 weeks old | 7 minutes long
CBS SF Bay Area:
SF mayor’s plans for the program
2 weeks old | 4 minutes long
Success of Richmond program
1 month old | 2 minutes long

 

ICYMI (AGAIN)

  • Yesterday: Kosovo loves the even more after military donation
  • Tuesday: Charging a path towards textiles as batteries
  • Monday: Texas is trying to regulate social media companies
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ASCII-ING ABOUT THE NEWS
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Art Credit: Chad Racine
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