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Attorney General Lockyer Calls On State To Make Prevention A Priority In The Battle Against Youth Crime And Violence

Tuesday, June 12, 2001
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today endorsed recommendations of the Little Hoover Commission to "make prevention the premise – rather than an afterthought – for every program for children and families."

Lockyer said the Commission's new report, Never Too Early, Never Too Late to Prevent Youth Crime and Violence, provides "a compelling call to make prevention California's primary policy for reducing youth crime and violence." Among other things, the report recommends coordinating youth violence prevention programs, making the best use of public dollars, strengthening evaluation efforts, making information about the best strategies available to communities throughout the state and attracting private support through partnerships for the best ideas.

"We must begin our violence prevention efforts early, in the lives of our youngest children," Lockyer said. "A revolution in science now reveals that consistent exposure to violence can permanently damage a child's development and subsequent behavior. These findings have enormous implications for California public policy. Our state now spends billions of dollars on foster care, alcohol and drug abuse, mental health, juvenile justice and prisons. But we are often too late. It's like paying millions for hospitalization costs for malaria rather than providing the vaccine."

The Attorney General said the Department of Justice would continue to strengthen its collaborative efforts to assure that prevention is California's first priority in reducing youth crime and violence. Through California Safe from the Start, the Attorney General has been working with other state and local agencies, and with community partners, to draw attention to successful programs being used to stop the cycle of violence from one generation to the next.

"With commitment and action, we can restore hope to troubled youth, and help guide all California's young people to a bright future," Lockyer said.

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