On being part of new solutions

“To truly reform our criminal justice system, we need to move away from the mind-set that punishment is the answer to urban violence. Indeed, there is now sufficient evidence to support an entirely new model for countering violence — one driven by investment.”

—Patrick Sharkey, professor and chair of sociology at New York University, and author of “Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence” in today’s Los Angeles Times.

It’s heartening to realize Stockton, instead of sticking to the status quo, is a part of this promising trend. Stockton voters and leaders plainly realized the purely punative approach did not reduce crime.

Not that we’ve gone wholly over to the “investment model.”  Far from it. The main component of Measure A, funding for 120 new police, took a page from the old book.

But Measure A also included a permanent Office of Violence Prevention with funding for Peacekeepers to draw at-risk youth away from gangs; police brass have gone on listening tours; the PD participated in a natinal trust-building experiment; the Council recently approved the Advance Peace program; the city is even experimenting with Universal Basic Income as a way to address crime’s the root causes.

A colleague once said to me, “Stockton is so 10 years ago.” Increasingly, that notion is so 10 year ago.

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  • Blog Author

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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