DC Scraps Program to Pay People Stipends Not to Commit Crimes

A proposal to pay people stipends not to commit crimes in D.C. appears dead after Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Council declined to fund it. 

Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie introduced a comprehensive crime bill in February that included the proposed stipend plan. But Bowser did not include money for the program in her budget and McDuffie advanced a budget Thursday without the cuts needed to pay for it.

Under the stipend program, city officials would identify as many as 200 people a year who were considered at risk of either committing or becoming victims of violent crime. Those people would be directed to participate in behavioral therapy and other programs. If they fulfill obligations and stay out of trouble, they would be paid. 

McDuffie previously argued the cost of the stipends "pales in comparison" to the cost of someone being victimized, along with the costs of incarcerating the offender.

"I want to prevent violent crime -- particularly gun violence -- by addressing the root causes and creating opportunities for people, particularly those individuals who are at the highest risks of offending," the former prosecutor said in a letter to constituents.

The stipend proposal was based on a program in Richmond, California, that advocates said contributed to deep reductions in crime there. That program provided as much as $9,000 per year to participants.

The overall program in D.C. would have cost $4.9 million over four years, with the stipend payments adding up to $460,000 per year, the District's independent chief financial officer previously said.


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The D.C. Council had previously voted unanimously to approve the stipends as part of a larger crime bill.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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