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More than 100 formerly incarcerated people in Durham, NC, received universal basic income deposits

This March, 109 formerly incarcerated people in North Carolina received a deposit of $500 directly into their bank accounts. The first of 12 monthly payments were dispensed through the Excel Pilot Program from the nonprofit organization StepUp Durham.

The objective of Durham’s guaranteed income or Excel Pilot Program is “to evaluate guaranteed income’s effects on recidivism and re-incarceration, employment, economic security, and income volatility, as well as physical functioning, mental health, stress, and coping, parenting, housing, and interactions with other institutional systems.” - StepUp Durham

The money was granted unconditionally. The only criteria was that they had to be over 18, making less money than 60% of Durham’s median income, and had to have been incarcerated within the last 5 years. The participants were selected over a 5 month period.

“I didn't think it was real, and then I woke up, and then I saw the money, that it was deposited into my account. I was like, ‘I actually got chosen’. If you have programs like this which can contribute, it's kind of like jumpstarting their life back to where it was before they got in trouble or had a detriment happen in their life.” - said Torry Cooper, a UBI recipient




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