The two-year effort by U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) to refocus the national battle against juvenile and gang crime to prevention programs is picking up steam, reports the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. More than half the members of the House – 234 lawmakers – have signed on as co-sponsors. Scott would spend $2 billion over five years to underwrite “evidence-based prevention programs” to reach high-risk youths before they turn to gangs and crime.
U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA.), who had signed on as a co-sponsor, is now raising a red flag, saying the bill won’t work. This month, the so-called Youth PROMISE bill was approved, 17-14, by the House Judiciary Committee, with Forbes joining other Republican committee members to vote no. The vote came after the committee rejected Forbes’ attempt to add a tough gang-sentencing plan to the legislation.