Conyers Calls for Increased Focus on Education and Jobs for At-Risk Youth at Historic National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention
Washington, DC, April 4, 2011
Today, at the first National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement emphasizing the need to increase funding for education and jobs programs for at-risk youth:
“Getting tough” on crime may have seemed logical or at least politically expedient, but research and experience clearly demonstrates that we cannot “arrest our way out of the problem” of youth violence. Our nation has the highest incarceration rates in the world -- with more than 2.3 million people behind bars -- a disturbingly disproportionate share of whom are poor and minority. In fact, 1 out of 9 African American men between the ages of 20 to 34 in this country are in jail or prison at this very moment.
That is why I have co-sponsored and strongly supported legislation that provides for training and jobs for at-risk youth, such as “Youth PROMISE” Act (The Youth Prison Reduction for Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support and Education Act), the new Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment Act, and the Second Chance Act.
Today’s conference illustrates the folly of mindless budget cutting at the federal, state, and local levels that reduce or eliminate important critical juvenile justice and youth violence prevention programs. These penny-wise, but dollar-foolish cuts will inevitably lead to much higher costs associated with increased expenditures to deal with greater incidents of crime and victimization, more substance abuse, exacerbated mental health conditions, higher unemployment, and the need for more prisons. As Congress and the President attempt to work together on the budget for the next year and one half, I would urge them to heed the lessons of this conference.
I am very pleased that among the cities selected to participate in this forum, Detroit is here. I welcome the presence of Mayor Dave Bing, who will describe Detroit’s Youth Violence Prevention plan, which is built on strategies that have a distinct focus on building opportunities for youth, promoting positive youth development and preventing youth violence.
Rep. Conyers offered welcoming remarks today at the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, a two-day conference in Washington D.C. The Conference offers an opportunity for federal, state, and local officials as well as legislators to come together and share experiences about programs that work to prevent youth violence. Representatives from DOJ as well as the cities of Detroit, Boston, Chicago, and Memphis offered specific presentations about their at-risk youth programs. For more information on the Conference’s youth violence prevention initiative and how it affects cities like Detroit, please refer to https://www.findyouthinfo.gov/topic_preventingViolence_detroitBrief.shtml.