Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Unconventional program reduces crime rate in Richmond

The city of Richmond, California has attempted a novel, yet controversial, approach to reduce it's crime rate. Though it has been wildly successful, the nature of the idea has many questioning whether it should be allowed.

Richmond discovered that the number of homicides and weapons crimes were being committed by a select few in their city. In fact, they found that 70 percent of such crimes were committed by just 17 people. So the city of Richmond created a new program that pays these people $1,000 per month for good behavior. After initiating the program, the relevant crime rates in Richmond plunged by roughly two-thirds.

But this program raises the question: is this right? Aren't you just giving people an avenue to earn money after they've done something bad?

It may seem that way, but that's not exactly the way to think about the program. First of all, it's not as though people committing these crimes did so with the aim of getting paid later. Secondly, the people who commit these crimes are still dealing with very serious consequences (both short term and long term) as a result of their crimes that couldn't possibly be fixed by $1,000 per month. And third, we're not talking about a large amount of money. It's $250 per week. It's a bit of money to help people who may not be dealing with the best life circumstances right now.

Reducing the crime rate is the goal of any city, and the fact is that prison is not an effective means of deterring criminal behavior. This "pay for good behavior" program is clearly working, though it is on a small scale.

Source: Take Part, "This California City is Paying Criminals to Behave," June 9, 2014

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