Scott, Jones, Cárdenas and Gowdy Introduce Youth PROMISE Act

May 1, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC), Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) introduced the Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education (“Youth PROMISE”) Act (H.R. 2197).    

The Youth PROMISE Act will provide resources to communities to engage in comprehensive, evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies to decrease violence, gang crime, illegal drug activity and other crime.  Under the Youth PROMISE Act, communities facing the greatest youth gang and crime challenges will each form a local council of representatives from law enforcement, court services, schools, social service organizations, health and mental health providers, the business community, and other public and private community-based organizations, including faith-based organizations.  The council will develop a comprehensive plan for implementing evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies for young people who are at-risk of becoming involved, or who are already involved, in gangs, or the criminal justice system to redirect them toward productive and law-abiding alternatives.

"The United States has the highest average incarceration rate of any nation in the world, and the cost of corrections in this country has risen to over $68 billion a year," said Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA). "All the credible research and evidence shows that a continuum of evidence-based prevention and intervention programs for at-risk youth will greatly reduce crime and save much more than they cost. In this time of budgetary constraint, the Youth PROMISE Act is a wise investment. Ultimately, the Youth PROMISE Act will prevent crime while also saving lives, saving communities and saving money."

“In addressing the very serious issue of youth crime, we know that local communities know best,”said Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC). “The Youth Promise Act will empower these communities and help them create plans to prevent youth crime and incarceration that will save taxpayers in the long run.”

“As a former federal prosecutor, who saw the immense human toll and suffering at the backend of crime, I am convinced we must be committed to stopping crime before it happens,” Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC). “Under the Youth PROMISE Act, communities can develop effective, integrated prevention and intervention programs tailored to their specific community needs. I applaud Rep. Bobby Scott’s work on this legislation to help us minimize the number of people and families victimized by crime and violence, improve services for at-risk youth, and save taxpayer dollars.”

“In the past several months, Americans have seen the damage that can be done when we simply forget our children, abandoning them to an antiquated punishment system,” Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA). “Instead of a nation that thinks of children as problems to be shoved into a cell, we must become a nation that treasures our future generations, learns what can be done to help them and uses this understanding to keep them out of jail, and on a track to build our economy. I applaud the Youth PROMISE Act, because I believe it accomplishes those goals.”

The Youth PROMISE Act has the support of over 250 national, state, and local government, professional, civil rights, education and religious organizations, including the National Association of Counties, the National Conference of Mayors, the Children's Defense Fund, the National Juvenile Justice Network, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, the National Education Association, the NAACP, the American Bar Association, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, and the Campaign for Youth Justice, to name a few.   

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