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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Reforming Outdated Juvenile Justice System and Reducing Crime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

May 13, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) today joined Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and more than 80 colleagues in calling the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch a criminal civil rights investigation into the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and an independent investigation into local authorities’ handling of the case. The lawmakers urge DOJ to investigate these matters swiftly and thoroughly so that Mr. Arbery’s family can know the truth about what happened to their son.

Apr 17, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) introduced legislation officially declaring April as Second Chance Month.

Mar 25, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) joined Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) in sending a letter to House leadership calling for measures to ensure the protection of refugees, asylees, and other immigrants in emergency legislation responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mar 13, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) releases the following statement following the announcement that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest in the country, will close:

Mar 12, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Joaquin Castro (TX-20) introduced legislation to provide free coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to uninsured Americans. The bill requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the National Disaster Medical System, to provide certain laboratory reimbursement for COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

Mar 11, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Congressmen Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Angie Craig (D-MN), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Increasing Access to Biosimilars Act of 2020. This bill would help reduce the cost of prescription drugs by encouraging competition and increasing access to biosimilars.

Mar 5, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DCCongressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) releases the following statement after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency over the novel coronavirus:

Mar 5, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) and Congresswoman Kim Schrier M.D. (WA-08) introduced the Magnet Injury Prevention Act to ban small, high-powered magnets following reports of severe intestinal trauma due to accidental ingestion in the United States. These high-powered magnets pose life-threating risks to adolescent children with one reported death. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a companion bill in the Senate last year.

Mar 3, 2020 Press Release

Washington, D.C. -- On Friday, U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08), Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29),  Rep. Peter King (R-NY-02) and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-03) introduced H.R. 6019, the bipartisan “Cure the Coronavirus Act,” legislation to encourage the rapid innovation and approval of a treatment to prevent or cure the Coronavirus Disease 2019. 

Jan 8, 2020 Press Release

 “Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently demonstrated a lack of strategy and an inability to think through the long-term consequences of his actions. This is not reality TV. When it comes to national security and the lives of American servicemembers, there are no redoes. Shooting first and asking questions later is a dangerous and ineffective strategy that will inevitably lead to the loss of lives. We deserve to know what his plan is to keep Americans safe. The President must consult Congress and work to deescalate the situation with Iran.