Legislation is on its way to the U.S. House of Representatives after the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill Wednesday that would fund programs to combat gangs and youth violence. U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush, D-1st, Jesse Jackson Jr., D-2nd, and Danny K. Davis, D-7th, are among 232 co-sponsors of the “Youth Prison, Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention,Support and Education Act.” U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Va., is the chief sponsor. Davis, who has championed several bills that addresses youth violence and ex-offenders, said there are plenty of community-based organizations that could provide help to trouble youth, but “the problem is they need money to carry out their mission of assisting young folks.” Other supporters of the bill include the American Civil Liberties Union, which said the bill would also ensure that juveniles, especially minorities, are not shuffled through the criminal justice system. “The bill addresses the underlying root causes of youth violence and gang activity and offers real solutions to real problems facing many American families,” said Jennifer Bellamy, legislative counsel for the ACLU. “By focusing on prevention and intervention, the youth PROMISE Act recognizes the importance of keeping young Americans out of the criminal justice system and in school.” Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender

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