Rep. Richmond Introduces the Youth Empowerment Strategy
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Cedric Richmond (LA-02) introduced the Youth Empowerment Strategy as part of his effort to provide more opportunities for youth across the country. The Youth Empowerment Strategy, made up of the Youth Summer Jobs and Public Service Act of 2015 and the Student Disciplinary Fairness Act of 2015 would expand summer job programs and take steps to combat the use of the criminal justice system for routine school discipline.
“The best investment we can make as a country is in our future,” said Rep. Richmond. “Keeping our children in school instead of in jail should be a priority for us all. These bills present a comprehensive approach we should take right now. Getting a young person a summer job develops the habits and skills they need to succeed and encourages them to further their education.”
“Research shows that summer jobs play a key role on the path to success. If a teen has a summer job, they are significantly less likely to commit a violent crime and more likely to stay in school. While they are in school, we must ensure they are being treated fairly. Using the criminal justice system to punish students for routine violations makes criminals out of students just for wearing the wrong clothes. We know that the earlier someone has contact with the criminal justice system, the less likely they are to finish school and the harder it is for them to achieve success later in life. By keeping kids in school and creating summer job programs, we give more of our children the chance to succeed.”
The Student Disciplinary Fairness Act of 2015 would devote federal resources to preventing the overuse of the criminal justice system for activity that takes place in school settings. It would create an office in the U.S. Department of Justice to collect data and develop alternatives to the use of the criminal justice system by schools. It also creates a grant program in the U.S. Department of Education to fund training for teachers and administrators in de-escalation techniques for mitigating delinquent student behavior without the involvement of law enforcement.
The Youth Summer Jobs and Public Service Act of 2015 would create grants for local areas to carry out summer jobs programs for youth. The bill would prioritize jobs that include an element of public service so that youth could serve their community while they are employed.
To download video of Congressman Richmond’s remarks on the House Floor, click here.