Help Reduce Youth Violence

Juvenile Detention Center

Target: U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu

Goal: Ensure passage of legislation that would enact violence prevention and intervention programs to help youth across America

The U.S. Congress has an opportunity to give our communities the support and funding they need to effectively address youth violence. The Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education, or  the Youth PROMISE Act, was proposed by Rep. Robert C. Scott in 2009. By specifically focusing on violence prevention and intervention strategies, this bill would fund programs that would save lives and give every young person the opportunity to meet his or her potential. Urge Sen. Mary Landrieu, the bill’s cosponsor in the Senate, to help move the bill along so that communities can more effectively reduce youth violence.

The Act takes a different approach to the current, ineffective “tough on crime” model. It would establish evidence-based, locally run prevention and intervention practices that engage and divert at-risk youth before they fall into a costly cycle of delinquency, crime, violence and incarceration. It is a comprehensive approach that addresses the causes of violence and empowers local communities by investing in local, culturally and geographically relevant strategies.

Children in the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the U.S. encounter horrific violence on a daily basis. They suffer post-traumatic stress and are unable to reach their full potential. The nation’s prisons are filled with young adults that have been previously incarcerated in juvenile detention centers. Since 1979, when gun death data was first collected by age, over 119,000 children and teens have lost their lives to gun violence.

It is time for Congress to act. Five years is far too long to sit on this badly-needed legislation. Rep. Scott has taken the lead and gathered much support in the House, and now it is time for Sen. Landrieu to do the same in the Senate. Sign the petition below and demand that the Youth PROMISE Act be put into place to help youth across America.


Dear Senator Landrieu,

It has been five long years since the Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education, or Youth PROMISE Act, was proposed in the U.S. Congress by Rep. Robert C. Smith. Since that time, thousands of children and teens have lost their lives to violence. Many encounter horrific violence on a daily basis and suffer from post-traumatic stress, which follows them into adulthood.

Violence prevention and intervention strategies are needed in lieu of continuing with our “tough on crime” mentality. The Youth PROMISE model prevents crime, saves taxpayer money, and uses evidence-based, local initiatives to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.

Thousands of potential victims can be saved. There would be healthier families, safer communities, and stronger support for youth across the country. The Act has had broad, bipartisan support among members of Congress in both the House and Senate. A coalition of hundreds of local, state, and national organizations support the legislation.

I urge you to work hard to ensure that the Youth PROMISE Act becomes law. The youth of America have waited too long for Congress to act on this pressing matter.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: curate via Tumblr

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