Chicago gave hundreds of high-risk kids a summer job. Violent crime arrests plummeted. Washington Post (Wonkblog) link The blog post concluded with a quote from the research on the jobs program that was done by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and recently published in the journal Science: The WaPo blog does point out that the study doesnt nail down the why of the programs resulting drop in violent crime (and also notes that some of the money made at the jobs may have gone for drug buys, since drug busts for the treatment group were a bit higher than for the control group). But for my money, even if summer job money ends up as cash for drug buys for a few kids, that can be fixed too: via professional substance abuse education and prevention efforts. Now more school districts are participating, even while dealing with budget cuts. They see the face of opiates addiction coming back on the heels of closer restriction of prescription painkillers, and they dont like the prospects for heroin-addicted children any better than they liked what Moms oxycontin offered. Meanwhile in other news I saw that Myanmar has jacked up its opium crops. Supply, meet demand... but I hope more summer job programs will be launched in 2015. Having a summer job can shift a kids mental gears, open his eyes, show options past learning how not to get busted dealing or buying drugs. Doesnt matter if its folding paper napkins in a banquet hall or shoveling compost in a community garden. It beats the soul-killing experience of 8 week of nothing to do, no money to do it with and too much time to ponder illicit options, ones that can choke off further education and fetch a one-way ride into the industrial-prison system via forays into violent crime. Preventing crime is admirable. Helping a kid avoid a lifestyle that leads directly to prison is priceless.