||Arguing that “murder in the United States has two faces” — endemic urban crime and mass shootings like the attack in Newtown, CT — a paper presented on Jan. 22 to a gathering on Capitol Hill makes the case for comprehensive, evidenced-based strategies and programs to prevent gun violence.
The paper, which was co-authored by criminologist Peter Scharf of Tulane University, was presented as part of a Youth Violence Prevention Summit in Washington, D.C. Its authors advocate for the passage of the Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support and Education (PROMISE) Act, which is sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
The paper argues that while the causes of mass shootings and endemic crime are different, the proposed Youth PROMISE Act addresses both forms of violence. It notes that cities such as Compton, CA, Richmond, VA and Washington, DC have experienced dramatic declines in murder rates since adopting policies similar to those in the Youth PROMISE Act.
The Act, which would amend the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, calls for broad public health efforts that target violence, treat high-risk youth and prepare communities for the aftermath of gun violence incidents. Its passage is uncertain during a year of anticipated budget cutting in Congress.