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RELEASE: Rep. Norris Presents Legislation to Reduce Youth Crime

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Saint Paul, MN. – On Wednesday March 27th, at 11:00 a.m. Minnesota House Rep. Matt Norris (DFL - Blaine) presented SF 4269/HF 4395 in the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee alongside Sen. Oumou Verbeten (DFL - Saint Paul), author of the Senate companion bill. The legislation would fund evidence-based strategies to prevent youth crime. 

“As someone who has spent much of my career working in youth development and led successful strategies to reduce youth crime, some of the more concerning trends post-pandemic have been young people committing repeated crimes, and youth committing these crimes at younger and younger ages,” said Rep Norris, author of the House version, HF 4395. “I’ve worked closely with Sen. Oumou Verbeten and Rep. Sandra Feist to put together this legislation which will invest in holistic strategies to prevent youth crime and improve justice outcomes for youth. I’m glad it has received a hearing in the Senate and will continue to advocate for its advancement in the House.”

The bill was developed in collaboration with law enforcement, community organizations, and young community members. It funds services which intervene the first time a young person encounters the justice system with wrap-around services proven to prevent future offenses. This includes services to the entire family to confront generational challenges. Yellow Medicine County has been a leader in these practices in Minnesota. In their work, the county found that 16% of youth who completed programs like this re-offended within two years of completion compared to 28% who were referred to the traditional justice system. This will lead to safer communities and less expense to the taxpayers compared to cycling young people through the justice system repeatedly.

The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in a supplemental public safety budget bill. Video of the presentation can be found on the Minnesota Senate Media Services Youtube page.