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New York uses bank penalties and fines to pay for social work

In an excellent, and enterprising, initiative, New York has used some USD58 million of the vast fines and penalties it has applied to foreign banks to help in an innovative crime prevention scheme aimed at young people who, in the absence of help, are more likely to rob banks than to work in them.

Cyrus Vance, the New York District Attorney, has allocated the sum to several initiatives.

Four districts in New York have been targeted for the schemes which aim to bring teenagers out of the cycle of poor education, poor attitude and poor inter-personal relationship decisions. "We're not going to prosecute and arrest our way out of the problems in our society, we've got to get serious about investing in our kids," Vance said.

Some schemes start with even younger children : "We work with elementary, kindergarten, first, second, third grades, and those kids are best friends. Then years later, they are mortal enemies, just based on where they are living, break that cycle!" said David Nocenti, Union Settlement.

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