The Youth PROMISE Act is bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) and Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) in the 113th Congress. The bill, H.R. 1318, was filed with 53 original co-sponsors and has enjoyed substantial support since it was first introduced in 2007. On July 16, Senators Landrieu (D-LA) and Inhofe (R-OK) introduced the Youth PROMISE Act (S. 1307) in the Senate. The legislation aims to reduce youth violence by engaging communities that are most at risk of youth violence and victimization.

The Youth PROMISE Act empowers local communities. The communities that face the greatest challenges with youth at risk of gang involvement and delinquency will come together – via a local council that includes law enforcement, community-based organizations, schools, faith organizations, healthcare providers, social service providers, and mental health providers – to develop and implement a comprehensive plan.

Rather than forcing states to take on additional and, at times, duplicative and burdensome sentencing mandates and punitive approaches to address violence and gangs, the Youth PROMISE Act builds upon evidence-based and promising practices proven to reduce youth violence and delinquency. 

The legislation would save money and spare human suffering. The Act calls for thorough evaluation, guided by state-level commissions, including analyses of the cost-savings to society yielded by investing in data-driven prevention and intervention approaches versus more costly prosecution and incarceration.  Savings from investments in prevention and intervention programs will be reinvested to broaden the scope of prevention and intervention.

Finally, The Act provides for the increased local coordination and state evaluation of federal programs designed to reduce and prevent juvenile delinquency. It also establishes a federal commission charged to carry out a nationwide, comprehensive study of the effectiveness of delinquency/crime prevention and intervention strategies.

Learn more in the Youth Promise Act Fact Sheet.