Cárdenas Introduces Resolution Declaring April as Second Chance Month
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) introduced legislation officially declaring April as Second Chance Month.
“Throughout my career – from the State Assembly to the LA City Council and now in Congress – I have made it a priority to fix our broken criminal justice system,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “For too long, we have relied on an antiquated juvenile justice model that prioritizes wasteful incarceration over efficient, effective rehabilitation. It is unconscionable that the United States leads developed nations in the highest youth incarceration rates. America is a country of second chances. Our children deserve to live in a world where you can change for the better, and where your future is not be defined by a single mistake. That is the world I am fighting for every day.”
The United States has the highest youth incarceration rates of any developed nation. Each year, 76,000 of America’s youths are tried or sentenced as adults – most of whom are prosecuted for nonviolent offenses. Children under the age of 18 are not allowed to vote, yet in many states, children as young as seven can be tried as adults. According to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, prosecuting youth in adult courts increases crime – on average, they are three percent more likely to commit future crimes than youth detained in the juvenile system.
Last year, Congressman Cárdenas and U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Richard Blumenthal introduced the Reverse Mass Incarceration Act which establishes a grant program that allows states to invest in evidence-based programs designed to reduce incarceration rates while controlling crime. Additionally, Cárdenas introduced the Eliminating Debtor's Prison for Kids Act of 2019 that would end the cruel practice of collecting fines and fees that keep children in jail and American families in debt. Right now, across this country, young people are being held in detention because they cannot afford the legal fees imposed by our justice system.
Congressman Cárdenas is the founder and chairman of the Youth Justice Caucus working to support at-risk youth and fix the major problems in the United States juvenile justice system.