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Congressman Tony Cardenas

Representing the 29th District of California

Rep. Cárdenas Calls Out Inefficient Spending for Detaining Youth, Highlights Need for Investment in Evidence-Based Juvenile Justice Programs

May 24, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. –Representative Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) today released a statement to highlight the need for more federal funding for juvenile justice programs. Following the House Committee on Appropriations Markup of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill, Rep. Cárdenas reinforced the inefficiency of spending billions of dollars to imprison youth while more effective programs that save tax payers dollars go unfunded.

“For the second year in a row, the House Appropriations Committee has zeroed out funding for juvenile justice programs to improve our juvenile justice system and better serve our country’s youth,” said Rep. Cárdenas. “I am passionate about fixing our inefficient and costly juvenile justice system. Research has showed us that these programs will save taxpayer dollars, help kids in trouble become productive members of society, and make our streets and communities safer.”

On March 23, 2016, Congressman Cárdenas led 69 of his colleagues in sending a letter to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science to ask the Subcommittee to invest in juvenile justice programs like those authorized by the landmark Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act, the Department of Justice’s Smart on Justice Initiative, and programs specifically focused on girls in the juvenile justice system.

Rep. Cárdenas went on to say, “It costs Los Angeles County $233,000 to detain a single young person for one year, compared to $11,000 that our nation spends on education per student. States spend about $5.7 billion each year imprisoning youth in facilities that separate families, burden communities and fail to adequately rehabilitate children. Youth that spend time in detention facilities are 50 percent more likely to recidivate.

“My good friend Representative Derek Kilmer introduced an amendment to fund the programs that 70 of us Members advocated for back in March. I applaud Representative Kilmer’s effort. During the upcoming appropriations negotiations, I look forward to continuing to stand up for programs that protect nation’s youth, save millions of taxpayer dollars and keep our streets safer.”

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