New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced a new program that would offer cash incentives to young criminals for good behavior. According to a report by The Trace, the city’s months-long plan to try out the Advance Peace model is going to become a reality this month.
Mayor de Blasio and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams first announced their intentions to pilot the program in March. The Advance Peace organization claims that “by working with and supporting a targeted group of individuals at the core of gun hostilities, Advance Peace bridges the gap between anti-violence programming and a hard-to-reach population at the center of violence in urban areas, thus breaking the cycle of gun hostilities and altering the trajectory of these men’s lives.”
The March press release from the mayor’s office states in part, “under the pilot, the City will conduct outreach in areas with high levels of gun violence to identify youth who are at-risk for gun violence. Select individuals are then invited to join the Peacemaker fellowship, which pairs mentees with individual Neighborhood Change Agents who mentor them and set tangible goals like a driver’s license or a GED. When participants achieve their goals, they receive a monetary stipend.”
The press release also says that the Advance Peace approach has been effective in California. They pointed to a peer-reviewed evaluation of the pilot in Sacramento, California, that found a 27% drop in gun violence in the program’s catchment area. The report documented a significant level of service referrals, conflict mediations, and gun violence interruptions that they claim demonstrate the program’s efficacy.
Fox News reported that the city had budgeted $1 million for the program, allowing for $1,000 monthly payments to participants who achieve their goals. During the program’s announcement, de Blasio said, “this Advance Peace Model will guarantee a safer and fairer New York for generations to come.” City Councilmember Adrienne Adams said of the program, “youth mentorship is an important part of violence prevention.
I look forward to seeing this new program thrive as we begin to reimagine public safety in New York City.”
As the city grapples with violent crime and mental illness, the political leadership continues to take a less traditional approach to solve the growing number of residents’ problems.
De Blasio and Williams’ plan has been widely criticized, most notably by Seth Barron of the American Mind, who wrote an op-ed for the New York Post slamming de Blasio and calling the plan “insane.” Barron wrote, “trusting these groups to administer the disbursement of $1,000 monthly stipends to gangster protégés of ex-con mentors is truly insane. But with de Blasio leaving office in a few months, what better way for him to establish the capstone of his depressing eight years in City Hall?”