Bipartisan Crime Prevention Bill Takes Smart Approach to Juvenile Justice

February 13, 2009 12:00 am

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Youth PROMISE Act Introduced In House And Senate On Same Day Sends A Strong Message, Says ACLU

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WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced H.R.1064 and S. 435, identical House and Senate bills to fund prevention and intervention programs that are comprehensive, community-centered and evidence-based efforts to combat gangs and youth violence.

The Youth Prison, Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support and Education Act, known as “Youth PROMISE,” is sponsored by Representatives Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) and Michael Castle (R-DE) as well as Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Although Representative Scott sponsored this bill in the House last year, today is the first time that this legislation has been introduced in the Senate.

The following can be attributed to Jennifer Bellamy, American Civil Liberties Union Legislative Counsel:

“Thanks to the leadership of Representatives Scott and Castle and Senators Casey and Snowe, new legislation designed to help reduce juvenile crime by encouraging early intervention and mentoring is one step closer to reality. By introducing bipartisan legislation in both the House and the Senate on the same day, the sponsors of the Youth PROMISE Act sent a strong message that a smarter approach to the complex problem of youth crime is long overdue.

“The old approach of locking up more and more of our at-risk youth has proven to be an abysmal failure. This Act has solid support because it is built on the clear evidence that community-based programs can be far more successful at preventing youth crime than the discredited policies of excessive incarceration. With this measure, challenged communities are empowered to be part of the fix.”

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