Last week for print, Thomasi McDonald wrote about Durham’s experience with a guaranteed income program, which provides about $6,600 in annual assistance to roughly 100 formerly incarcerated residents to help with their transition back to society. The one-year pilot program, which launched a year ago and ended in February, was funded through a $500,000 grant.

The story profiles some beneficiaries of the program, underscoring its potential to reduce recidivism. Durham mayor pro tem Mark-Anthony Middleton is a believer of the program and tells us he wants the city to allocate $1 million in the budget to keep it going. 

With budget negotiations approaching, Middleton says his fellow council members have expressed an “openness to my request for a $1 million placeholder” and that he’s hopeful the program will be continued.

The response to the story among readers was mostly positive, but guaranteed basic income has its critics, including a couple of users who weighed in on Instagram. 

“Terrible idea to gift criminals !! Great to enable and encourage criminals!!” user @TEDMAYNOR wrote.

Another commenter, @EVOLVINGINTENTIONALLY, had a similar gut reaction: “This is a terrible idea!! There are open jobs everywhere. Middleton needs to be removed from office.”

Negativity was far outweighed by emojis of applause and hearts across our social media accounts, however, and could be summarized by a note from @JACORONILLA: “great way to break the cycle and help people get on their feet. love it”

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