Stockton City Council Approves Controversial ‘Advance Peace’ Program with 6-1 Vote

STOCKTON -- "My mom was an at-home mom, she really didn't understand anything that happened on the streets, so," Isabel Franco said.

So, on the streets, Franco got into a lot of trouble.

"I'm 48 years old now, I still feel 16 in the head sometimes," he said.

When he was in his 20s, he was in and out of prison.

"The installment plan they call it," Franco said.

Robbery, drugs, gun charges -- you name it.

"Paid my debts to society and everything," he said.

Eventually, he says he was able to turn a new leaf.

"All because of that program," he said.

Because of an anti-crime mentorship program similar to Advance Peace.

Tuesday night, Mayor Michael Tubbs recommended city councilors adopt for Stockton.

And after much public comment, they did. The motion passed 6-1.

"Try to understand it as leadership and life development for a group of people who have nothing. Absolutely nothing," said Advance Peace Founder DeVone Boggan.

The goal of Advance Peace is to cut shootings in Stockton in half over a four-year period.

Fifty people identified as most at-risk to commit gun crimes would complete an 18-month mentorship program that includes life coaching, daily check-ins and job training.

It's controversial because it includes a trip to a theme park, called transformative travel, as well as a potential $1,000 per month stipend for those who stay out of trouble for six months.

The founder of Advance Peace says they've seen incredible results in Richmond, where the program started.

"Seventy percent of our fellows are not a suspect in a new firearm crime. Since they are fellows," Boggan said.

A spokesperson for the Richmond Police Officers Association said the statistics were wrong.

"They will say they work with law enforcement. I assure you, they do not. They have not in the case of Richmond. In fact, they have worked hard to usurp the justice we work hard to serve our community," he said.

From an unusually packed overflow room, person after person came to the podium to plead their cases for and against the program.

"If you're a killer, you're a killer," said activist Denise Friday.

But Franco, an ex-convict, who rebuilt his life in Stockton believes its worth a try.

"It's a start, it might get them off the street for a minute," he said. "Long term? It's all up to the individual."