On Thursday, Congressman Robert Scott (D-Va.) and Congressman Walter Jones (R-N.C.) reintroduced the Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support and Education (Youth PROMISE) Act.
First proposed in 2009, the Act would alter elements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 and provide funding and other resources for communities to build and implement evidence-based intervention and prevention strategies to curb youth violence, drug use and gang activity.
In neighborhoods with the highest rates of youth crime, the Act would establish special councils consisting of local law enforcement, school and court services representatives, who would develop programs to “redirect” young people who are involved, or may become involved, in the juvenile justice system. Councils established by the Act would also include healthcare providers, social services workers and input from other public and private organizations, such as churches and local businesses.
“The United States now 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,” Congressman Scott said in an official press release. “All the credible research and evidence shows that a continuum of evidenced-based prevention and intervention programs for at-risk youth will greatly reduce crime and save much more than they cost.”