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Juvenile Justice & Safety

One of my main goals since first being elected to office has been to promote public safety with law enforcement collaboration for fair, smart-on-crime policies for youth opportunity and justice, through all aspects of the justice system.


Reforming Outdated Juvenile Justice System and Reducing Crime

Growing up in Pacoima, I saw the effect gangs have on our community. Gang prevention and juvenile justice reform have always been my most important priorities. I chaired an internationally-renowned advisory committee that developed the nation’s first comprehensive "Community Based Gang-Intervention Model",developed by intervention practitioners themselves.

In 2000, as a California State Assemblyman, I co-authored and passed AB 1913, the Schiff-Cárdenas Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act, which has provided local communities with approximately $120 million per year, the single, largest appropriation of state funds for youth crime prevention in the history of the United States. Confirming its effectiveness, a report from the Rand Corporation indicates that statewide efforts after the passage of the Schiff-Cárdenas Act have resulted in lower law enforcement costs and a measurable positive affect on young people who participate in it. As a freshman Congressman, I tried to bring those same benefits to our nation as a whole, introducing the “Community-Based Gang Intervention Act’’ (H.R. 2669) in 2013. The law would provide funding and direction for agencies to intervene in the lives of young people who are at-risk, keeping them out of the prison system and making our communities safer.

I also want to protect the mental and physical health of the young men and women who have been incarcerated in our nation, so that eventually they can be rehabilitated and returned to become productive members of society. With that in mind, I also joined two U.S. Senators, introducing the At-Risk Youth Medicaid Protection Act; the Prohibiting Detention of Youth Status Offenders Act, which was also introduced in the Senate by Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania; and the Protecting Youth from Solitary Confinement Act. These laws address the physical health of incarcerated kids, stops our nation from being the only country in the world to put kids in solitary confinement and stops judges from being able to put kids in jail for skipping school or smoking cigarettes.


Crime Prevention and Youth Development Caucus

I also founded the bipartisan Crime Prevention and Youth Development Caucus along with U.S. Rep. David Reichert. We were joined by charter members Judge Ted Poe and Bobby Scott, to encourage the federal government, particularly Congress, to work toward smart justice reform for at-risk youth and further efforts that encourage violence prevention and youth opportunity.


Protecting Our Nation's Student-Athletes

In August, 2014, I joined U.S. Rep. Charles W. Dent of Pennsylvania to announce the formation of the bipartisan Congressional Student-Athlete Protection Caucus. The Caucus was founded to both inform Congressional members about physical, academic and financial issues faced by student-athletes, and to ensure that all student-athletes participating in collegiate athletics are treated fairly and are provided with the educational promise that is at the heart of collegiate athletics.

In November 2013, I introduced the Collegiate Student Athlete Protection Act (CSAP) which also would create scholarship and concussion protections, while requiring universities to provide full medical coverage for student-athletes. Some great changes have already begun taking pace in collegiate athletics, and I look forward to finishing the job. Giving our student-athletes the same protections that any other American receives when they trade their work for compensation is the only just, fair thing to do.


More on Juvenile Justice & Safety

Sep 18, 2020 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) , along with 8 Senators and 33 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, asked Senate and House leaders to replenish and increase funding for wildfire response and recovery in any upcoming spending package, as well as pass an additional federal relief package – known as a “disaster supplemental” – as massive infernos continue to rage in the West.

Aug 24, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) releases the following statement on the killing of Ramon Timothy Lopez and the shooting of Jacob Blake by law enforcement:

Jul 30, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) and Marcia Fudge (OH-11) introduced the Expanding Access to Emergency Meals Act. This bill ensures that all low-income families have access to emergency meals funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) public assistance during future emergencies and disasters.

Jun 29, 2020 Press Release

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) stresses the importance of extreme weather and emergency preparedness in a newly-created public service announcement (PSA). The locally-targeted PSA, recorded in partnership with The Weather Channel television network, is airing on the network starting Monday, June 29th and will run through August 4th.

Jun 25, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) co-sponsored H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. The newly unveiled House Democrats’ bill invests more than $1.5 trillion in modern, sustainable infrastructure while creating millions of good-paying jobs, combatting the climate crisis and addressing disparities in communities across California and throughout the country. Cárdenas’ bill, the Clean Commute for Kids Act which provides funding to retrofit bus fleets with cleaner energy sources, was included in H.R. 2.

Jun 25, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) congratulated the Los Angeles County Fire Department on being awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). The grant in the amount of $227,386 was awarded to the county last week.

Jun 22, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) sent a letter to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Chairman José E. Serrano (NY-15) and Ranking Member Robert Aderholt (AL-4) calling for increased funding for the Civil Rights Division (CRT) of the Department of Justice. The letter urges the subcommittee to increase CRT funding to $200 million in the FY 2021 appropriations bill.

Jun 8, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) joined over 100 Members of Congress as a cosponsor of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. The bill is led by Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass, Senator Cory A. Booker, Senator Kamala D. Harris Chair, and House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler. Sponsors described the bill as the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement and build trust between law enforcement and our communities.

Jun 8, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-PA), Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), John Katko (R-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and 82 House colleagues, sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer requesting that any future coronavirus stimulus package prioritize programs and services for underserved communities and provide targeted resources to address health disparities.

Jun 3, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) releases the following statement on the protests in Los Angeles: