Here’s a model that won’t work, and a model that’s ass backwards from jump. (No I won’t argue about it…just like I wouldn’t argue with Submariner about the benefits of Omoxycillin vs. Penicillin.)
So let’s think about a model that does. If we aren’t willing to consider something really radical–like legalizing drugs–then I think we need to think about ways to generate peace amongst warring gangs. Errol Henderson out of Penn State has done some interesting practical and theoretical work on negotiating gang treaties that are similar to those negotiated between warring states.
We also need to think about alternatives to punishment. The Rockefeller Drug Laws have unfortunately provided the template for the draconian drug sentencing laws that have become the norm, but for those convicted of non-violent crimes we should have another option. Perhaps one working to rebuild communities, or repurposing abandoned warehouses, something that helps make our living spaces better places to live, rather than serving as phone operators for ATT for pennies.
I’m particularly interested in ideas that are practical and scalable. Remember we are talking about neighborhoods…but when we start thinking about 10,000 volunteers we are really talking about CITIES.
(Edited to add: I included a PDF of Dr. Errol Henderson’s work on intergang violence and interstate norms of reducing conflict because it bears reading.)