Prevent Youth Violence at the Community Level

Target: Members of Congress

Goal: Work to prevent youth violence by strengthening communities with positive social infrastructure

The problem of violence in America’s most vulnerable communities is a daunting one to solve. With the recent shooting deaths of teens like Chicago’s Hadiya Pendleton, it has become all the more urgent to implement solutions at the community level. Increased police presence and “tough on crime” rhetoric have failed to reduce violent crime in Chicago and around the country. It’s time America adopted intelligent policies based on concrete scientific research to curb the ongoing massacre of youths in at-risk neighborhoods.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, in no small part due to its failure to prevent, rather than simply punish, violent crime. A new bill facing Congress could drastically change the way American cities heal from longstanding social problems. Instead of implementing vast, monolithic policies across varied cities and neighborhoods, the Youth Prison Reduction Through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support and Education Act (“Youth PROMISE Act”) will aim to tailor its violence prevention strategies to each individual area it services. Based on actual research, the Youth PROMISE Act will help keep American children, teens, and young adults in school, off the streets and out of prison.

America needs a comprehensive network of social support to heal the wounds inflicted every day in its most troubled neighborhoods. Urge Congress to pass the Youth PROMISE Act and help every child born in the United States to live up to his or her full potential.


Dear members of Congress,

A new piece of legislation proposed by Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott has the opportunity to revitalize the way we prevent crime in America. The Youth PROMISE Act (H.R. 1318) would create comprehensive networks of support for young people in troubled neighborhoods using strategies based on concrete data.

Too many teenagers and adolescents fall into a lifetime of crime and incarceration. Incarceration rates are disproportionately high for racial minorities, who are often the victims of a “tough on crime” mentality that does little to deter actual crime. Rather than fighting violence with violence, as many city leaders have been attempting, the Youth PROMISE Act would dive deep into the underlying problems facing troubled and underserved communities.

It’s time America faced up to its troubling social problems and stopped youth violence in its tracks. Too many young lives are still at risk. I urge you not to hesitate in passing the Youth PROMISE Act.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Zol87 via Flickr

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