ACLU Applauds Rep. Bobby Scott’s Youth Violence Summit

December 3, 2008 12:00 am

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Says Forum Highlights Proven Prevention Programs, Rather Than The School-to-Prison Pipeline

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WASHINGTON – Today, as part of a youth violence summit hosted by Representative Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), ACLU Legislative Counsel Jennifer Bellamy moderated a panel “Law Enforcement/Judicial Perspective on the Need for Prevention.” The purpose of the half-day issues forum, entitled “Empowering Communities to Combat Gang Crime: The Youth PROMISE Act,” is to address the need for evidence-based strategies for juvenile justice prevention and intervention.

The following can be attributed to ACLU Legislative Counsel Jennifer Bellamy:

“Representative Bobby Scott’s youth violence summit is a good example of community needs receiving federal attention. A key goal of today’s forum is to highlight proven prevention programs for our nation’s youth, rather than the school-to-prison pipeline.

“Right now, a trend in many state juvenile justice systems is to criminalize the classroom. A common practice is for law enforcement officers to patrol middle and high school hallways.

“The deployment of ‘school resource officers’ has significantly increased the number of school-based arrests. If the federal government continues to fund these practices, programs should be evaluated for effectiveness both before and after implementation.”

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