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Crime Does Pay | Can't Possibly Be True!

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published June 29, 2015

Crime Does Pay <B>|</B> Can't Possibly Be True!

When officials in Richmond, California, learned in 2009 that 70 percent of the city's murders and firearms assaults were directly linked to 17 people, they decided on a bold program: to pay off those 17 to behave themselves. For a budget of about $1.2 million a year, the program offers individual coaching, health care coverage and several hundred dollars a month in stipends to former thugs who stick to their "life map" of personal goals and conflict-resolution training. According to an April report on National Public Radio's "This American Life," Richmond is no longer among the most dangerous towns in America, with the murder rate in fact having fallen from its all-time yearly high of 62 to 11 last year. [WBEZ Radio (Chicago) via News.com.au (Sydney, Australia), 4-30-2015]

One might believe that a 6th-grader, suspended for a whole year after school officials found a "marijuana" leaf in his backpack, might be immediately un-suspended if authorities (after three field tests) found the leaf was neither marijuana nor anything else illegal. Not, however, at Bedford Middle School in Roanoke, Virginia, whose officials said they had acted on gossip that students called the leaf "marijuana," and therefore under the state schools' "look-alike-drug" policy, the 6th-grader was just as guilty as if the leaf were real. Formerly a high-achiever student, he has, since last September, suffered panic attacks and is under the care of a pediatric psychiatrist, and his parents filed a federal lawsuit in February. [Roanoke Times, 3-14-2015]

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