Oct 31 2016

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The Covenant of Peace

The Covenant of Peace is an anti-violence campaign geared at addressing the systemic issues in and around violence. The goal of the Covenant of Peace is to stem the tide of violence in the District of Columbia and beyond by reaching out to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services committed youth, both in its facilities and in violence-torn communities.

After undergoing intense focus groups that explore and challenge the root causes of violence, committed youth at the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) will sign a Covenant, an agreement to abstain from and speak against senseless acts of violence.

DYRS and a group of credible messengers – a talent of neighborhood-based leaders, individuals with relevant life experiences and proven track records of positive community involvement – will conduct these focus groups during a series of sleep-ins at New Beginnings Youth Development Center, the Youth Services Center and community-based locations.

The sleep-ins will begin on a Friday evening and culminate the following Sunday at noon.

Sleep-In Schedule

November 20-22, 2015

New Beginnings Youth Development Center in Laurel, MD

December 4-6, 2015

Youth Services Center in Washington DC

Information on future events coming soon!

More than 70 million Americans – about 1 in 4 – are younger than 18, the age group commonly referred to as juveniles. This age group increased consistently since the mid-1980s and is projected to continue increasing until at least 2015. (US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention )

In 2014, youth arrests in the District of Columbia hit their lowest point in the past 10 years The reason for youth contact with the juvenile justice system was often a non-violent, non-weapons offense (DC Lawyers for Youth, Youth Arrest and Court Involvement: Trends in DC, 2015).

However, these improvements have been uneven across the city. Stubborn pockets of violent crime remain unchanged in some neighborhoods, particularly in Northeast and Southeast DC. (Urban Institute, Our Changing City, 9/15/15)

The District of Columbia has a unique opportunity to provide rehabilitative services to young people reduce recidivism and increase positive opportunities for youth through The Covenant of Peace. The District of Columbia will continue to be a leader in juvenile justice and youth development by enacting the suggested focus groups and programming in the Covenant, and by continuing and reinforcing the learnings with booster Covenant workshops and programming long after the sleep-in weekends take place.

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