Al Jazeera America examines Richmond program offering free cash to reforming criminals

Al Jazeera America examined a Richmond crime prevention program that offers free cash to reforming criminals.
Photo from AlJazeera America report.

Kamari Ridgle, a 19-year-old man who admits to committing multiple Richmond shootings in 2010, says he’s no longer a criminal due to a controversial city program that offers various services to the city’s most dangerous youths, including up to $1,000 per month in cash for good behavior, according to a fascinating report last week from Al Jazeera America.

The story, which aired on Al Jazeera America Friday night, examines the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) program that attempts to prevent gun violence by offering the city’s most dangerous youths “less stick, more carrot.”

The program first attempts to establish close relationships between city officials and violent, lawbreaking youths and then tries to counsel them and help them find jobs, according to the article.

The next part of the program, however, is controversial: If the men exhibit good behavior over 18 months, ONS reportedly offers them up to $1,000 a month in cash and trips beyond Richmond.

“While critics insist this amounts to rewarding criminal behavior, backers of the program counter that the strategy has yielded extraordinary results,” the article states.

We encourage our readers to read the full Al Jazeera America story about this interesting subject. What do you think about the program, Richmond?