On October 2nd, we again partnered with Ben & Jerry’s for our big annual “Celebration for Peace 2013” ice cream scooping event at the nation’s capitol. Every year 1000+ Members of Congress and their staff attend and learn about important peace issues. This event definitely creates peace buzz around the Capitol (and will again this year, despite the discouraging government shut-down).
As we celebrate the work of peacebuilding and the incredible opportunities it holds for our nation, we call upon our nation’s leaders to invest in and prioritize peacebuilding.
This year our focus is on youth violence reduction, and specifically, the Youth PROMISE Act. This critical domestic peacebuilding legislation will stand as a trend-setting model and will create infrastructure in our own communities to implement proven prevention and intervention strategies for dealing with youth violence and crime.
In the United States, homicide is the second leading cause of death for children age 10-24. Of that age group, homicide is the leading cause of death for African-Americans. Of those arrested for murder in the U.S. 52% are 25 years old or younger. (CDC)
And yet U.S. also has the highest incarceration rate in the world with 2.3 million people behind bars at a cost of $63 billion per year to taxpayers.
Our ‘tough on crime,’ ‘lock ’em up’ standard punitive approach has been a failure and a blight on our communities. It’s time for a meaningful shift towards effective, affirming and pro-active alternatives. Not only is it a moral imperative, it’s also incredibly smart economics.
Example: The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency found that a program very similar to the Youth PROMISE Act implemented in Pennsylvania saved, on average, $5 for every $1 invested in prevention.
Preventative programs offer a tremendous return on investment, both in terms of budgets and in terms of lives.
Join us today and sign our petition. Help build on the excitement and buzz we will all be creating at the Capitol by adding your voice!