October 17, 2019

Harris Introduces Resolution Recognizing October as National Youth Justice Action Month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Thursday introduced a resolution recognizing October as “National Youth Justice Action Month.” 

The resolution notes that an estimated 76,000 youth are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults annually. National Youth Justice Action Month recognizes that the juvenile justice system is better equipped to work with young people, and plays a critical role in rehabilitating and treating young offenders while holding them accountable and maintaining public safety.

“Our criminal justice system too often treats youths as adults, barring them from age-appropriate resources and a real chance at getting back on track,” said Sen. Harris. “It is our shared responsibility to work together to expand opportunities for all children and create stronger pathways to success for those who have become involved in the justice system. During National Youth Justice Action Month, I urge my colleagues and all Americans to take action to ensure that children who are involved in the criminal justice system have the support they need to reach their full potential.”

The resolution was also introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29).

“For too long, we have relied on an antiquated juvenile justice model that prioritizes wasteful incarceration over efficient, effective rehabilitation,” said Rep. Cárdenas. “It is unconscionable that the United States leads developed nations in the highest youth incarceration rates. We need to address the root causes of juvenile delinquency rather than make matters worse. My resolution aims to shine a light on the systematic problems in our juvenile justice system that keeps young Americans incarcerated. American children belong in schools, not prisons. The American people deserve safer streets and our children deserve a second chance.”

Senator Harris has a long record of working to safeguard children so they can meet their full potential. In 2015, as Attorney General of California, Harris established the Bureau of Children’s Justice that in part focuses its enforcement and advocacy efforts on California’s foster care, adoption, and juvenile justice systems. As San Francisco District Attorney, she also helped create the nationally recognized Center for Youth Wellness to improve the health of children exposed to trauma.

The text of the resolution can be viewed here.