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Councilor: City should consider paying troubled teens to stay out of trouble

City Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) acknowledges it's a "pretty radical" idea. But he says the city should consider paying teens identified as being at risk of engaging in violence a monthly stipend to stay out of trouble.

At a City Council meeting today, Jackson said a stipend program in Richmond, CA, in which teens are paid between $300 and $1,000 a month to follow a "life plan" they write with counselors has dramatically reduced that city's murder rate.

The council agreed to hold a hearing on the idea.

Jackson said he began thinking of the idea after seeing "the most disgusting footage I've ever seen in my life" - of that seven-year-old boy being shot on Bowdoin Street.

Jackson said a stipend program would be a meaningful tool that Boston's 50 anti-violence street workers could use to curb problems. He said that while murders are down this year, shootings are up.

Although Jackson did not specify an amount for how much the program would cost, he noted Boston Police is currently on track to spend $60 million on overtime - at least some of which is related to investigations of violent crimes in the neighborhoods where the program would be used.

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Comments

And we get nothing? Maybe we should be bad sometimes and earn a bribe from the city?

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We're good without needing to be paid to be good. That's why they call us "good for nothing"

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theoretically, you get a safer city.

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Well that ought to just make us all feel better in what could only be if this happened...our surreal lives in the city

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Sounds like a protection racket. Once you pay Danegeld you never get rid of the Dane.

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Oh yeah much safer. As if it's so terrifying now?? All this will lead to is these brats thinking they can get paid just for existing. Hello future welfare recipients!

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Are u kidding me.....have we all forgotten that well.....you're simply expected to be "good" ????

Ridiculous, what's next a hotline you call....i'm about to commit a crime....oh wait here's an automatic update on your new city issued credit card for 500 if you don't.

Would rather pay the 60m....no brainier.

Let's stop accepting less, expecting less and always being expected to just understand.....we've set a real low bar in society theses days as it is.....and still many seemingly have problems hopping that.....

Yep encourage the theme that crime pays....right after u say you'll stop

Madness......

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On the one hand, there's lots of documented evidence that guaranteed minimum incomes, or any of a dozen varieties thereof that take the form of subsidies given by the government to encourage behavior, create enormous returns in both social welfare and in net economic output.

On the other hand, no one in the U.S. actually cares about outcomes, and would much rather see people they view as morally inferior be punished, even if it makes us all worse off.

Anyway, good talk. If anyone needs me, I'll be over finishing off this bottle of whiskey while I read the onslaught of angry, semi-literate anonymous comments pointing out how people like me and Tito Jackson are going to be the downfall of democratic society.

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Paying people to not work usually gives people plenty of free time and money to experience vice.

Paying kids for doing nothing could very well give them the seed money to start a criminal enterprise.

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Because kids don't get involved in gang violence because they're poor, discriminated against in jobs and education, and need the money - they get involved in gang violence because they formed a grand criminal conspiracy before reaching adolescence and are simply waiting for the Hard-Earned Money of White Folks Unjustly Distributed by Massachusetts Libruls in order to fund their criminality.

I know I know - "this is NOT about race, where did you EVER see race in my comment nuh uh you didn't."

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Wow is right.

I didn't give one though of race from that post, until you brought it up.

When will people get tired of attaching race to every issue?

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attaching race to every issue, and once people start learning to ignore race when it's brought up in relation to every issue.

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That can happen when race stops being an issue.

As a black guy, you know that, right? I'm sure you are tired of hearing about it, but, hey, I'm sure that having to hear about racism and the damage it does to people and society is definitely far worse than if you and Patricia had to live with the reality of racism every single day, amirite?

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White folks are the only ones with "hard-earned money"? That's racist.

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Links to research supporting your contention would be very helpful. Adam provided some with the story that say otherwise, but I'd love to see what the body of research has to say.

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In exchange for shunning dangerous behavior, ONS fellows receive anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per month, depending on their progress following a "life map" of personal and professional goals.

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Pay the kids to clean city streets and parks. Give them a chance to earn pay doing government chores rather than a government sponsored allowance.

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... what a novel idea.

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Don't republicans and conservatives hate New Deal style, job banks and public works?

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How many kids are we talking about? 100? Sure, we'll do this, but no raises for city councilors.

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Let him pay it, the new raise oughtta help

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"What do you want, a cookie?"

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it can't hurt to give these kids something to lose.

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Pay men to freeze their sperm and get vasectomies. If Tito's going to hand out checks to people for not committing crimes, why don't I just have ten kids and pocket the checks?

Rewarding people with cash for existing is really poor policy. There aren't enough carrots for the number of people who exist.

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You're a social scientist as well as a barfly!

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Among them smarter than you, funnier than you, and better looking than you.

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PEOPLE LIKE YOU!

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There literally are enough carrots to do exactly that. Issues of motivation aside, the GDP per capita of the United States is $53,000 per year. That means if all of the wealth in the country were to be distributed evenly every year, everyone in the country (even small children) could have a living wage *without requiring any additional productivity!!!* This is the whole concept behind the basic income (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income), which would probably be cheaper overall than the hundreds of individual charities and government anti-poverty programs we have today.

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Virtue is its own reward

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where do they expect this money to come from? How long before they say we "need to identify new revenue streams". Now if they said we can cut the police budget or school budget because of offsetting costs due to this policy - that's better. But let's be realistic, that's not going to happen. Never does. Never will.

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I think the question you should be asking is "would this save money spent on trouble in the future".

We always seem to have money for prisons, but when it comes to programs designed to keep people out of prison ...

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That should be a cue to read the whole post

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The city is not broke, it's rich enough to pay over 4,800 employees over $100,000 per year apiece. https://www.bostonglobe.com/1969/12/08/city-boston-payroll-database/O813...

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I just commit a couple petty crimes to get on the crime-prevention-payout list?

Teach a man to fish.

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They didn't catch the teen who shot the 7 year old so under this program he'd still be getting paid for "staying out of trouble" so maybe thats not the best case for Tito Jackson to bring up.

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Just watch out for the cobra effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobra_effect

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another socialist program just like teen girls are being paid for having babies. Thus producing such "kids" that are as you say "at risk" So, mothers get paid to have kids that will also be paid - All on the TAX payers dime I'm sure.

But hey who am I to say it's a bad idea?

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like Social Security?

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I think the point is how Social Security had lead to morons maximizing their spending and not saving for retirement because they expect a government check to support them in old age.

Subsidies often offer freedom from responsibility or productivity and lead to worse behavior. See corporate welfare for darling examples.

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I think the point is how Social Security had lead to morons maximizing their spending and not saving for retirement because they expect a government check to support them in old age.

And your evidence for this braindead assertion is... what, exactly?

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Too lazy to Google it for yourself I see:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/shocking-number-of-americans-have-no-retirem...

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/08/18/zero-reti...

People expect way too much of Social Security and don't plan accordingly.

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Things were better in the old days, when senior citizens ate cat food to survive after their pensions crapped out. Everything was going great, until that liberal bastard signed Social Security into law. Who was that socialist son-of-a-bitch? Oh, right: Nixon.

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To be precise, I think you mean SSI, Supplementary Security Income? Because that is the program Nixon signed into law. As opposed to Social Security created by FDR. Though to be fair, both are administered by the Social Security Administration.

http://www.ssa.gov/sf/FactSheets/aianssavsssifinalrev.pdf

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Cripes. Ya know, I been on this blog since, oh, 2009. And, I know, I am far, far from perfect. But I do not try to be mean but, at times, I do fall short. But I just seem to be seeing more lack of empathy for our fellow human beings, from some of the folk's posting thoughts and just plain old meanness spurting from some other folks, sometimes on a daily basis. And it seems to be growing and is really disconcerting, dare I say depressing.

I am not even going to honor your post with a reply regarding its content since you lost me with the word "morons".

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You had workhouses, poorhouses, debtor's prisons...yeah, things were awesome for old people back then when everyone just saved thriftily for their retirement. Really though--much easier since the life expectancy was lower. One bout of the pox or pneumonia and you didn't have to worry about indigent old grandpa.

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You keep using that word, but I don't think you know what it means.

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Absolutely. Fucking. Mental.

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And the end amount will be far more than $300-$1k a month, they will need to hire someone to check up on the recipients to ensure they're doing the right thing etc.

What about the teens who do the right thing all the time? It's like rewarding them for bad behavior. I understand the incentive is to get troubled teens on the right path but what message does it send to the teens already on the right path?

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story from NPR. Where is the money going to come from? I found the most shameless thing about the 7 year old getting shot was the guy standing in the storefront who just went inside and did nothing to comfort the poor child.

Please, Tito Jackson, don't throw my money away.

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/05/22/407947554/how-do-you...

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Not for nothing, but as Adam put it, Jackson acknowledges its a radical idea and just wants the Council to discuss it. To me, that doesn't really sound like he's pushing for it to happen, just for an honest discussion to take place. I don't see any harm in thinking outside the box when considering new approaches to reducing crime, I'm sure there will be a long and (hopefully) open process if even a semblance of this idea becomes a reality here.

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I'd like the city council to discuss writing me a check for a billion dollars.

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Locking up the 500 or so "troubled" teens responsible for 99% of trouble and throwing away the key like they did in the 90s, so the other 50,000 or so not-too-troubled teens can stay out of trouble.

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Keep in mind that the whole point of this program is to find these kids *before* they've committed any crimes, thus, there is nothing to lock them up for.

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Start giving them money before they commit crime, as in any kid can walk up to you and demand his grand, otherwise he'll start breaking shit?

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"This American Life" did a segment on a program like this in California a few weeks ago. Sounds like it's actually done a lot of good there.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/555/the-incredibl...

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Just realized this is the same program in the mother jones article that's linked to in the story.

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I'm guessing that $60 million in overtime pay has nothing to do with a record-breaking winter or the Patriots Super Bowl parade.

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I liked it better when Tito was with the Jackson 5. Yeah I know the joke is old but I still like it.

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doing nothing then run for Boston City Council. Right Tito.

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Comment of the day.

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How about working for that money? I'm not trying to be a smartass, but I assume that most kids get into trouble because they don't have anything better to do.

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The problem is that even though $1000 may seem like a lot of money to pay someone to do nothing, it is a really tiny amount to pay someone to do something. At the current minimum wage in MA it pays for a little over 100 hours a month of work, which is only about 3.3 hours a day. Not really enough time to "keep kids out of trouble" especially since you would probably be displacing a decent, union job with an actual living wage in the process.

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Oh and of course there is also the issue that if you're paying them to do work, you actually have to pay them *even if they commit additional crime* thus removing the whole "you stop being violent and we pay you for it" incentive that is the basic premise of the program.

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At a place that had a ton of kids from various teen summer jobs programs (Boston Youth Fund, ABCD, etc.). The kids quickly figured out that the jobs were busy work, with no real substance, and quickly started goofing off and disappearing on long breaks and hiding out in the building's nooks and crannies: unless they broke a real serious rule, they got paid to do nothing.

Usually about 10% of them were good for completing any work: the rest were just making work for the full-time staff who now had to babysit in addition to performing their own jobs. For the one kid I had willing to work, I spent more time teaching him how to sweep than it would have taken me to do it myself.

It was absurd and the kids learned nothing except how to get paid to slack off.

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We hire 100+ of these kids every summer at the mayors "request" (more like demand) and are expected to monitor them and keep them busy. My agency is currently underfunded due to sequestration and the regular employees here haven't received a cost of living increase in over 3 years and we have had layoffs every year for the last years, but we still come up with the money every summer to pay the summer kids.

It is 100% kids getting paid for no show jobs, like the mafia. No one has time or energy to keep track of 100+ kids in over 30 different work sites, so they get away with getting paid and doing absolutely no work.

Of course, the head of the agency also treats our program like his own personal candy shop, and hands out government subsidies to his friends for funsies, so I guess there is something to the whole government corruption nonsense.

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When I was 14, I started working for BYCC during the summer. Teens would go and sign up at the Reggie Lewis Center and be assigned to an area close to their neighborhoods. We'd work m-f cleaning parks, it paid decent and we had something to do all summer. Why wouldn't the city council work on a program similar to that?

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That has no place in our utopia...

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I'm always critical of the amount of "work" that the kids doing those summer cleanup jobs actually perform. HOWEVER, I'd much prefer to pay a kid to lean on a broom all summer than to mail out checks to people for doing REALLY nothing. How do you know that they are staying out of trouble? At least on a work crew if they don't show up, they don't get paid.

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Do you mean like an allowance? How about someone teaching them right from wrong when they are children ? How about mothers and fathers supporting each other for their children's sake? How about giving themn some love and attention, hands-on help with school work, communicating, and finding time to be with them? How about maybe going to church? It costs nothing and does a wealth of good. We cannot churn out another generation which depends on government handouts. White, black, purple, green, magenta, etc.

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Good luck getting the 50 worst criminals in Boston to do that for $1000/month.

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That was my after-tax income when I worked retail.

40 hours a week, $8 an hour: $320 a week or $1280 every four weeks before taxes.

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I have a better idea: how about we pay firefighters, EMTs, and teachers more since they actually contribute something to society. I know, how dare I. What a radical idea.

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Maybe we should put these kids to work with the firefighters, EMTs, etc. You don't have to have much training to clean an engine or a floor, or help stock up an ambulance, but they would be around some really good role models.

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But accoriding to Tito Jacskson, throwing payoff money at kids already on a dark path is the solution. The fact that he didn't even entertain an idea like yours shows how ridiculously foolish he is.

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I wonder how much of that is internship snobbery, where guidance counselors and their ilk are only interested in things like biotech and university placements, rather than trades and other non-academic professional disciplines?

I understand what it is like to be "steered" into certain things on career day because of being low income, and the baggage that comes with that, but I don't think that should matter as much as just mixing kids in with working professionals and giving them something to do!

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Though it's not specifically for "troubled" teens, Artists for Humanity toes into this territory: They offer after school paid apprenticeship programs in the creative field. The program model sounds pretty fantastic, the kids work under experienced professionals in their discipline on real jobs (meaning you can contact AFH and hire them). They target underserved populations, so not specifically "troubled teens", but there's certainly a lot of crossover.

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The kids get to build their own bike after they help build or rehab a bunch of other bikes.

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I remember just a couple of years ago, one of the churches was paying the gang kids. I doubt it's still going on because it was a complete failure. All the kids had to do was pretend to listen to someone preaching to them. On Friday afternoon it was, "We gotta go get our church money.". Friday night was business as usual. That was church money, this is our tax dollars. PLEASE stop giving my money away to bad and/or lazy people!!

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Tito you should have all the councilors watch the videos "Roxbury State of Mind' which are available on YouTube and maybe that will help them understand the complex problems which exist in your district.

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How about acknowledge the kids that do the RIGHT thing and help better them....this is bullshit!!! Another handout - Get a job like the rest of us and get paid!

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