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"Overcriminalization" describes the trends in America - and particulary in Congress - to use the criminal law to "solve" every problem, punish every mistake (instead of making proper use of civil penalties), and coerce Americans into conforming their behavior to satisfy social engineering objectives.

HR 3846: Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support and Education (PROMISE) Act

Official Title

A bill to provide for evidence-based and promising practices related to juvenile delinquency and criminal street gang activity prevention and intervention to help build individual, family and community strength and resiliency to ensure that youth lead productive, safe, healthy, gang-free and law-abiding lives.


[Ed. note: Rep. Bobby Scott offered this bill as a substitute for several bills – including H.R. 3547 and S. 456 (passed out of Senate Judiciary Committee) – that would have federalized numerous crimes that fall under state and local jurisdiction and increased penalties dramatically. As introduced, this bill includes no criminal provisions and thus would not add to the harmful federalization of crimes that are inherently local in nature. The Heritage Foundation’s Brian Walsh testified regarding the Commerce Clause problems with the other bills, and his written statement is available at Overcriminalized.com at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Crime/tst112707a.cfm.]

Legislation Details

Anonymous (D - VA)


10/16/2007: Referred to House Education and Labor Committee
10/16/2007: Introduced