Controversial Richmond Program Pays People to Turn Lives Around

Don Gosney


"You didn't take their guns. You were giving them money to buy more guns. To me that's what the payment was. Yes, you trained them to do jobs, but it's a whole bunch of these people, it's not just that one," said Ficklin-Prothro.

KGO News has released a story questioning the effectiveness of a program that pays local youth not to commit crimes but has seen at least two of the program’s “Fellows” arrested for returning to the life that brought them to the attention of the program in the first place.

Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety has been a controversial program since its inception with fans lining up to sing the praises of the program while critics decry the lack of transparency and a suspicion about the programs’ effectiveness.

It was on  14 October, 2014 that two groups of recipients of the program’s stipends showed up at the offices at the same time to collect their checks.  A fight ensued but the ONS staffers refused to cooperate with the police officers investigating the fight.  A crime scene cleanup crew had to be hired to remove the blood soaked debris before workers could return to work.

There have been other questionable activities between ONS staffers and ONS Fellows but all efforts to get to the bottom of the stories have been met with a wall of silence from the ONS and heated ridicule by ONS supporters.

To learn more on this incident, visit:

To read KGO’s story, visit:

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