WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Sacramento to Pay Gang Members to Not Commit Murder


Sacramento is undergoing a surge in violence — it’s either gangs or roving bands of Democratic representatives, to the extent that there is a difference — and so the Sacramento City Council is employing a tried and true progressive solution: throwing taxpayer money at the problem.


Following a fatal shooting last weekend in a city park, the Sacramento city council unanimously approved a controversial program called Advance Peace in an effort to address a recent spike in violence.

The program offers gang members cash stipends for graduating from school and generally staying out of trouble.


This is how it is supposed to work. The thugs selected to receive the extortion payments are known to police and neighbors but, thus far, no one has had the ambition to make a criminal case against them:

In Sacramento, the program would target 50 young men who were identified as being responsible for much of the gun and gang violence in the city.

“Fifty is a huge number. That’s 50 shooters who have the possibility of taking a life,” Clavo said. “If we can reach those 50, how many lives have we changed?”

These people are known to the city, as well as their neighbors, Mayor Steinberg explained. However, there is not enough evidence to prosecute them.

“If you commit a crime and you are caught committing a crime or there’s evidence against you, you’re going to be fully prosecuted even with this project,” Steinberg said. “But, there are people who we think we can turn them around.”

“It gives us the resources to target the individuals we know are the drivers behind what’s going on,” Brookins said.


And then an army of social workers will descend upon them:

Members of the Advance Peace outreach teams, which could include former convicts, will perform what’s called street outreach, according to Chief Executive DaVone Boggan.

It’s a part of an 18-month fellowship, where participants, known as fellows, are provided access to an array of mentoring, educational and job-training opportunities. They can also receive up $1,000 per month for nine months after six successful months in the program.

“The strategy itself has seven daily touch-points that includes working with each of these fellows to create an 18-month life map, which is essentially an assessment to a goal development sheet and a map that helps the individual connect the dots,” Boggan said.

The outreach teams will fan out on two different tracks. One track is focused on the 50 young men identified by the gang prevention and intervention task force. The second focuses on those who could one day find themselves choosing to pull the trigger instead finding more productive and nonviolent ways to resolve their conflicts.

This sounds amazingly like what “parole” should sound like.

A couple of thoughts here.

1. What this program does is employ enhanced supervision and the Hawthorne effect to achieve changes — perhaps transitory in nature because we don’t know what happens a few years after the cash stipend and supervision end — in the behavior of a handful of street toughs.


2. Any gangland kingpin whose removal from “the game” actually reduces net street violence is not going to be enticed into a program for $1,000/month. That, quite honestly, is fast-food worker money but without government bureaucrats crawling up your butt.

3. Paying off thugs to stop being thugs does not create respect for law and order. It gives the illusion of the police being put in the position of paying protection money to street criminals.

4. As Ronald Reagan said, “if you want more of something, subsidize it.” This program subsidizes criminality. Don’t be surprised when you get more of it.

Applications for the program are coming in even as we speak.


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