Now, from the liberal mecca that has ordered six-weeks mandatory parental leave for new mothers, fathers and “same-gendered persons” to be paid by businesses with 20 or more employees, comes a program that puts convicted criminals on the payroll if they do not re-offend.

A decade ago, the San Francisco suburb of Richmond was one of the top ten deadliest cities in the country, and traditional anti-crime measures were so ineffective the City Council contemplated declaring a state of emergency.

Today, ex-cons in Richmond participating in Operation Peacemaker Fellowship are responding to one of the most basic of all motivators as the city follows a simple policy: Pay people not to kill.

The salary can range from $1 to $1,000 per month based on how actively the level of participation, with a cap of $9,000 over 18-months.

In 2006, the situation in Richmond had reached the breaking point when a man was shot in the face at the funeral of a teenage murder victim.

“It was time to do something different,” said Andre Shumake Sr., a 56-year-old Baptist minister whose son had was shot six times while riding his bicycle.

A 51-page report of a city study concluded, not surprisingly, that most shootings occurred in one particular area between 8 p.m. and midnight, and involved black males between 25 and 34 years of age, most of whom had a criminal record.

Devone Boggan, a community organizer who had been working with violent teenagers and had lost a brother to violence, had the idea for the program and won the support of the city.

Operation Peacemaker Fellowship enrolls newly-released offenders, frequently among the most violent, to receive a monthly “salary” for staying on the right side of the law.

“We don’t have any model fellows — we’re not graduating law school students here,” said Sam Vaughn, a senior mentor who served 10 years in prison for beating a man into a vegetative state. “All we’re trying to do is to get these guys to stop killing each other.”



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