Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reformed Criminal Benchmarks

The reason the Lampstand Foundation has established eight benchmarks (on our website’s program model page, fourth paragraph) that should be met prior to a reformed criminal being able to effectively work as a transformative leader in the reformation of other criminals, is that without the work to achieve the benchmarks, the knowledge resulting from achieving them, and the spiritual development accompanying the achievement, criminals who feel they might be reformed actually might not be, and can become leaders that possibly will do harm rather than good.

This could be what has happened in Boston, as this report from The Crime Report notes.

An excerpt.

“Next week, experts from six cities will gather at a Washington ‘summit’ to discuss tackling the national epidemic of youth violence. An approach used by one of those cities—Boston—is already sparking debate.

“When deadly gun violence happens in Boston, the killing zone is mostly concentrated along a four-mile North-South route in the city named Blue Hill Avenue. And it affects for the most part one segment of the population who are either perpetrators or victims—young men between the ages of 16 and 24.

“Those two facts have focused the minds of people determined to find a way to curb an epidemic of death by guns that has plagued Boston for nearly a decade.

“The solution seemed logical: develop an intervention program that targeted both the Blue Hill Avenue neighborhoods where most of Boston’s gun homicides were occurring, and the youthful population that was responsible for the killing.

“So, with help from the Boston Foundation, one of the city’s leading non-profits, a program called StreetSafe Boston was launched in the summer of 2009 to do exactly that―but with a controversial added feature. Twenty former gang members were hired to work in so-called “hot-zone” neighborhoods along Blue Hill Avenue, from the South End through Dorchester and Roxbury to Mattapan—the places where young men tend to meet insults with gunfire, and gunfire with revenge.

“The short-term results were not promising. By the end of 2010, the number of Boston homicides not only failed to drop―it increased to a worrying new high of 72. That continued an upward trend from the year ending in December 2008, when 63 Bostonian homicide victims were recorded—more than half of them under the age of 30.

“Nevertheless, StreetSafe’s defenders and staff say the grim stats don’t tell the whole story of what has been achieved on Boston’s streets. They point for example to the fact that the program has been able to connect with 300 so-called “impact players” responsible for violence in the target neighborhoods, all of them gang members.”