NAACP Supports Smart, Sensible Legislation to Allow Communities to Develop Youth Anti-Crime Programs
WHEREAS, gang violence has proven to be especially devastating to our country's racial and ethnic minority communities and to our youth: many of the crimes committed by gangs and gang members are reprehensible and cause irreparable harm not only to individual victims but to families and whole neighborhoods as well. While the perpetrators of these crimes must be punished, it is becoming clear that we must take a proactive approach and try to steer at-risk youth away from gangs and towards being successful, productive members of our communities before a crime is committed; and
WHEREAS, the ―Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support and Education Act‖ (the ―Youth PROMISE Act‖), introduced by Congressman Robert ―Bobby‖ Scott (VA) and Senators Robert Casey (PA) and Olympia Snowe (ME) (H.R. 1064 / S. 435 in the 111th Congress), is intended to reduce juvenile and gang- related crime before it happens by investing in research-based programs. The Youth PROMISE Act mobilizes community leaders and invests almost exclusively in prevention and intervention, as opposed to the standard approach, which is obviously not working, of waiting for a crime to occur and then putting the alleged criminals in jail; and
WHEREAS, the Youth PROMISE Act allows communities facing the greatest youth gang and crime challenges to form a council to include representatives from law enforcement, court services, schools, social service organizations, health and mental health providers and community-based organizations, including faith-based organizations. These councils will then develop a comprehensive plan for implementing evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies that fit the needs of the particular community. These strategies will target young people who are at-risk of becoming involved, or who are already involved in, gangs or the criminal justice system and redirect them toward productive and law-abiding alternatives.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports the Youth PROMISE Act and calls for its quick enactment.