Washington, D.C., Proposes Paying People To Obey The Law

posted on February 4, 2016

With homicides in the nation’s capital up 54 percent last year, the D.C. City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to pass a bill that would pay “at risk” residents not to commit crimes, the Associated Press reports.

Under the legislation, up to 200 people per year would be assigned to undergo behavioral therapy and other programs, and upon completion, if they don’t engage in criminal behavior, they would be paid. A similar program in Richmond, Calif.—upon which the D.C. scheme is modeled—pays participants up to $9,000 per year. According to D.C.’s independent chief financial officer, together with the bill’s other provisions, the program would cost $25.6 million over four years.

With that kind of price tag, we can’t help but wonder whether the money would be better spent arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating armed, violent criminals rather than bribing people to obey the law. After all, what happens after the cookie jar runs dry?

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