THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Las Vegas, Nevada) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 9, 1996 REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN DISCUSSION ON YOUTH VIOLENCE MSU Ballroom The University of Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada
11:05 A.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
Q Good morning, Mr. President. My name is Kirby Burgess -- I want to say good morning to everybody here. I want to welcome you to the state of Nevada. What I'd like to do is to introduce, first and foremost, our panel up here and our guests. And then we'll later on engage the kids in conversation.
To my left is Governor Bob Miller; to his left is Undersheriff Richard Wingett; to his left is Shane Quick, Shane is a 16 year old youngster who is involved in our probation program; next to him -- and Anthony has a name I'm going to try to announce, Mr. President -- Anthony Covarrubias -- he's 15 years old, and he's in our Freedom Program, which is an intensive supervision program; and next to him is Stanley Johnson, Stanley is 13 years old -- big things come in little packages. (Laughter.) Next to him, Mr. President, is Ms. Joy Gladwin, she is a parent of one of the children in our program. And, of course, you know our congressional delegation, Senator Reid and Senator and Senator Bryan. So I want to thank you for being here. (Applause.)
Mr. President, it is indeed a pleasure and an honor, and being a fellow Arkansian, I cannot tell you how honored I am to be here.
I want to tell you a little bit about what we do. We're awful proud of what we do here in the state of Nevada, and in particular, in Clark County. I'm the director of Clark County Family Youth Services. We're a juvenile justice agency that provides services on a 24 hour a day basis to children and families.
We see approximately 30,000 children a year, from all walks of life. Some children who are mistreated by their parents, others who committed minor offenses, and some who are heavy hitters. Juvenile crime is a serious matter. While crime overall is down, juvenile crime is up across the country. And Nevada is -- it's similar in the state of Nevada.
What we have, though, is -- we have, we think, an opportunity here in Nevada to do something about it, and we've initiated some programs, one of which you saw earlier today, where we have kids out in the community who are paying off fines and restitution, and who are being punished basically for committing crimes, by picking up trash and doing graffiti abatement. And that program has been in operation for six years, and we've seen a lot of kids, we've done a lot of community services.
Mr. President, I truly believe that the family is the key to the success of a child or children. At Family Youth Services, we believe that the family is responsible for the children's behavior and are responsible for those children. Accordingly, Mr. President, we also believe that kids should be held accountable for their behavior. That is why we have these kinds of programs today.
At this segment of our presentation, what I'm going to do after I turn it over to Governor Miller and Undersheriff Wingett, I would like to engage the children in discussion. These are children who have experienced various degrees of success in our program. For example, Shane has gone through our program, has received a lot of success in his own road to recovery. And we believe we won't see him again.
Anthony is about at midpoint in his services. He has experienced a lot of successes, too, but has a way to go. Had it not been for the program that Anthony is in, he would end up in a youth corrections facility, for example.
Stanley is a young man -- and when I said big things come in little packages, I wasn't kidding you. He is a young man who has been involved in gangs, lives in a rough neighborhood and has had a lot of different experiences -- some successful, but mostly unsuccessful. We want him to tell you his story, as well.
And then Ms. Joy Gladwin will tell you her perspective from a parent's -- from a parent's perspective because we believe in holding parents responsible. We want parents to reassume responsibility for their children as opposed to the state or local government assuming responsibility.
And on that note I would like to also thank the Clark County Board of Commissioners, the juvenile judges who support us in our daily activities because we are successful as a team, the State of Nevada, and programs such as The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
And on that note, Mr. President, I will turn it over to Governor Miller. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
GOVERNOR MILLER: Welcome to Nevada, Mr. President. We are delighted that you are here and that you have taken the time to examine how our law enforcement community works in combatting the problems that are common throughout this country. This is an outstanding program that you have seen already out in the field, and we will hear from these individuals. It is typical of some programs we have in other parts of the state, as well, and some other programs that deal with both adult and juvenile offenders.
In our last legislative session, working with the legislative leadership that is here and with law enforcement, our attorney general, our district attorney, our sheriff, in a bipartisan fashion, we tried not only to be tough on crime but to be smart on crime. And that was a recognition that we needed to place emphasis particularly where the greatest problem areas were, and that was juvenile crime. We fashioned and changed the state laws to provide repeat offenders in the juvenile system who were above 16 years of age that commit a violent crime will be treated as adults automatically, without the need for certification, recognizing that we also have not just juvenile delinquents in our communities any longer, but just youthful criminals.
We provided for alternative programs, such as the one that you're seeing today, to recognize that there is hope for a lot of these young men and women, and that if we intervene early enough, before they have committed a couple of serious crimes, that we can turn their lives around. We adopted an approach of restricting access to weapons, which we think has been successful; of enhancing penalties for crimes against gang members, which we think has been effective already and will continue to be.
And in the adult system -- excuse me, and we also -- probably perhaps one of the most significant components is we provided for parental accountability. Joy will be able to talk a little about that component. But we provide the juvenile judge has the right to order the parents of a juvenile offender to restitution, to community service themselves, to counseling, whatever is necessary.
In the adult, we provide for some truth in sentencing for adult offenders and place our primary emphasis on incarcerating those hardened and violent criminals and created boot camps and alternative housing type of programs, lifestyle programs, for the less violent criminals so that we can make our resources go the farthest and utilizing where they're the needed the most.
It's been a cohesive bipartisan effort. Our district attorney, Mr. Bell -- the first one is a Democrat; our sheriff, Jerry Keller, (phonetic) is Republican. The legislature bipartisanly adopted this approach, as well. And we feel we're on the right track and we're glad that you're here to be able to share it with us -- and really appreciate the assistance of the federal government to establish programs like this and others.
Dick Wingett has been a career police officer, has risen to the ranks of Undersheriff. The Sheriff apologizes, he's at a major city chiefs -- chief of police meeting, or he would be here personally. But he's well represented in Dick, who has always been out and involved in the community, recognizing that police don't just serve a function after the apprehension of individuals, but also serve a function in trying to prevent the commission of the crime in the first place. So I'm glad that Dick has joined us today. (Applause.)
Q I'll join the Governor, Mr. President, in welcoming you to Las Vegas. In the last 10 years our population has seen a 78 percent growth. And yet, during that same time period, juvenile violent crime has quadrupled.
During this time frame here in Las Vegas, we've seen 146 gangs develop and over 4,000 documented gang members. Last year we had over 500 drive-by shootings and 119 victims of those shootings. Last year we saw 24 gang members killed, 18 of them were from homicide. Yet, six were from suicide. This if a violent world that these young people find themselves snarled in. Those kind of facts just cry out to us, to all of us, as community and national leaders to do something about this, to make our community safer.
Part of that is resources. The city and the county have done admirably in providing to us the resources we need. But your federal Crime Bill also gave to Las Vegas 28 police officers. And for that, Mr. President, we thank you. (Applause.)
In that same time frame we have seen what the Governor spoke about, and that is the passage of the Juvenile Firearms Act, which has given us specific tremendous tools to deal with these drive-by shootings. But even with strong laws, even with enforcement, which is critically important, the solution to these problems don't lie strictly with enforcement. We must depend and we must lean and encourage strongly prevention and intervention. That's the concept behind the programs that Kirby has been so active in. That's the concept behind the program we push and we have been working with for three years now, called Youth Diversion.
While there are many facets to Youth Diversion, we wanted to just give you an example of what it does -- is it takes 16 through 18 year old high school drop-outs and gives them an opportunity to go through a five month semi-military program that at the end gives them a GED. And besides the GED, it gives to them a scholarship, a scholarship either to a trade school or, if they prefer, to a college.
These are the kinds of things we're committed to, that are the solution to our gang problems. Thank you, sir. (Applause.)
Q Mr. President, at this time what I'd like to do is really showcase while you're here in the valley, is talk directly with our kids. And, as I mentioned earlier, Shane Quick is 16 years old, he's had a history of drug involvement. He's on the road to recovery through our efforts -- and his own, I should add.
Anthony Covarrubias is 15 years old, had a history of a lot of things from I think some weapons charges to other things like that. And, quite frankly, he would be in an institution had it not been for an intensive supervision program that we have. This is his last chance. He knows that. And Stanley, his history is well documented, as I stated earlier, with a lot of things that had gone wrong in each year, as well.
What I'd like to do is start off just by asking any of the boys -- and you guys step in -- how things have changed since you've been involved in some of the services we receive. Shane, why don't we start with you.
Q Well, first I'd like to say hello, Mr. President, it's nice to meet you. Things changed for me right when I got out of West Care -- the (inaudible) Springs Ranch Program, that I was in for three months -- drug problem. (Applause.)
That program was very helpful to me, it helped me a lot. It got me back on my feet. It showed me just a different route -- from the bad route to the route I'm on now, the good route going from drugs to money, going -- just going better. That's all I know about right now -- is that I'm just doing good and I'm going to keep doing it and I've got no one to thank except for my probation officer, my parents and myself, basically. I'm a little nervous, actually. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: You're doing great. You're doing great.
Q He's an honest young man, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: That's great.
Q Tony, what about you? I know you were in the Freedom Program, and that's an intensive supervision program -- a last-chance stop. How has this program made a difference in your life and where do you see yourself going?
Q Well, if it wasn't for this program I wouldn't be here. I'd probably be in a jail or juvenile, and I wouldn't be getting along with my parents and I wouldn't have the grades I got right now, I wouldn't be going to school. And I'm getting my education and I'm going to probably go back to school and graduate. Probably from there I'll probably go to college. I don't really know. I haven't really thought about it. I don't really know what else to say, it's just it's a good program.
THE PRESIDENT: How does it work, this Freedom Program?
Q Well, they come about -- they come every week, every day. I have to check in twice a day. I'm on house arrest. If you are doing good, you earn privileges to go out for so many hours. You've got to be home on time. And they just -- mostly just want you to do good, stay out of trouble. Just -- they'll get you -- they'll give you an education and a job, like I said. That's really -- all I really know to say.
THE PRESIDENT: Why do you think it's helped you?
Q Because now I'm going to counseling. I'm getting along with my parents. It's keeping me out of trouble, keeping me off the streets.
THE PRESIDENT: Is that your mother out there?
THE PRESIDENT: Let's give her a hand -- and your family there. (Applause.)
Q Tony, what I'd like for you guys to do is speak up because the press is here and all the audience is here and these microphones are a little --
THE PRESIDENT: What's the difference in the program Tony's in and the one Shane's in? Shane, what's your program called?
Q I was on probation. That's just weekly check-up. I got of the place I was in -- and just weekly check-ups, seeing what I'm doing, how I'm doing, talk to my probation officer. We talk about things. He gives me feedback on what I'm doing. I tell him everything that's going on basically in my life. He knows what I'm doing and how I'm doing.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Wingett, do you know how many -- do either of you know, maybe Kirby knows it,- how many young people does your probation officer work with? Do you know? Do you know how many people?
Q Yes, sir, I do, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: How many?
Q Our average caseload in a community supervision, which is what Shane is referencing, is somewhere between 60 and 80 kids, which is obviously very high. That's why we've gone to, in certain cases, a very intensive supervision, where they have daily regimen, random checking on the children by the probation officers, drug testing where we have to. Because those kids need more of a focus than reporting in every six months.
THE PRESIDENT: So you check in once a week. And you check in twice a day. You have to do random drug tests?
Q No. I did. I did do random drug tests.
THE PRESIDENT: For how long?
Q Three months.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay.
Q Tony, you have to go back into your old neighborhood. Kids get involved in gangs. And no matter what we do and no matter what kind of things we try to help you with, you and your mom, you're going to be back there with your friends. What's going to be different this time around versus previously?
Q I probably won't be hanging around them as much as I used to. And I probably won't do the crime that they want me to do. All you've got to do is walk away. That's all there is to it.
Q Mr. President, Stanley Johnson, who is to your left, is 13 years old -- (laughter) -- he is involved --
THE PRESIDENT: You did pretty good today.
Q He is involved in a program that you have directly allocated funds for, through the OJJDP Office. It is called New Directions. It's a program that Stanley is been in for the past six months, since January. He is on supervision 24 hours a day. Pretty soon he is going to be going to Idaho, which is a real treat for a lot of the urban kids we supervise, on a two-week wilderness program, and he is going to get a chance to pet llamas and things like that, which is very different. (Laughter.)
I would like for him to tell you a little bit about himself. Stanley, why don't you tell Mr. President about your situation. What kind of things have you been doing with your probation officer, for example, Mr. Garcia?
Q We go five days a week at the school. He come pick us up at school. And then we go to our program. And helps us with our homework and stuff. So we can get up on our grades and we can try to get out of our program early. And we're doing pretty good.
Q Now, your mother is here today, and I know -- we do a lot of things with your mom and some of the other parents. We have parent focus groups, Mr. President, where we try to help the parents at learning how to reassert themselves in the family environment, that is, assume control of the kids and make sure they're supervised.
Stanley, how is that happening in your family? Why don't you tell Mr. President about that?
THE PRESIDENT: About your mother.
Q How is your relationship with your mother? How do you and your mom get along now? Mr. President, maybe we should ask Ms. Gladwin to tell us a little bit about that, since she is directly involved in some of these parent groups we're talking about.
Q What it is, my son is also part of the same program as Stanley. We meet once a week, every other week, to try and get together as a parent group and support one another as well as come up with ideas that will help our children, as well. And through the program, which is the New Directions program, it has helped our children a lot, and helped our families. It has also given our kids a new way of giving back to the community something that is positive, as opposed to just the negative that they see a lot around them. And it has helped them in the grades. They are supervised 24 hours a day, both by myself, as well as Mr. Garcia.
And they have come a long way in a short period of time, and they're doing real good.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you work with Stan?
Q No, I'm just a friend.
THE PRESIDENT: And how did you find this program? How did you get involved with it?
Q My son was actually involved because of some problems that he has had. And because of it, he was put into the program in order to help him so that he will no longer have any problems. This is the first time he has ever had anything like this, and hopefully the very last.
THE PRESIDENT: Stan, do you like doing this program every day? Do you think these folks are helping you?
THE PRESIDENT: Do you think it's going to help you stay in school?
THE PRESIDENT: Do you have a feeling, do you think they really care about you?
Q Mm-hmm. (laughter.)
Q Mr. Garcia does care very, very much for all of these kids.
THE PRESIDENT: Is Mr. Garcia here?
Q Yeah, he is.
THE PRESIDENT: Where is he? Stand up there, Mr. Garcia. (Applause.)
Q He's really been a large benefit to these kids. He knows when to push them and when not to, and it helps tremendously.
Q Mr. President, a lot of our children come from single parent homes -- either by design or by the -- I mean through divorce or through just a circumstantial kind of thing.
Joy, I know in you're situation, I believe you're the head of the household and you have to accomplish everything. What does a program like this mean in terms of strengthening you and helping you regain control of your home?
Q Well, it makes it a lot easier for me because I know there is somebody else out there helping me. Because, unfortunately, being a single parent -- it's difficult. I don't get the child support that I'm supposed to, so that means I've got to work a lot harder in order to be able to take and get what I need to support my family. And by having somebody else out there who I know is helping me, it helps tremendously.
Plus, my child has some place that I don't have to worry about him being. He's in a group or in a gang that I want him to be in. It's positive, it's not negative. He's able to give back to the community instead of taking from it. And that makes a difference. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: How much of the problems that young people have -- I mean, that they're so much greater today than they have been in previous generations. How much of it do you think is due to the fact that children are alone so much more than they used to be?
Q A lot. Unfortunately, there's a lot more single parents. And it's very difficult for us.
Q We have the highest percentage of single mothers in the United States here in Nevada, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: You know, a phenomenal percentage of single parents are spending more than 20 percent of their income on child care when their children are very young. And then when they don't need literal, physical child care anymore it becomes almost impossible for them to do anything. That's one of the reasons that these programs are so important.
Q Yes, they are. The question I have to ask is why isn't there more programs like the New Directions?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, maybe I can talk a little about that.
First, let me say what the good news is. The bad news is that the country has figured out how to reduce the crime rate, but the crime rate among children under 18 is still going up. For three years in the country as a whole, the crime rate has gone down now. And that's good, but juvenile crime still continues to rise.
Now, there are, however, some things that seem to be working. Every one of them seems to be related to giving young people an organized, positive way to spend their time. And I could give you just a lot of examples. I mean, we've worked hard, for example, to help communities that wanted to set up a curfew, set up curfews. But the ones -- the curfew programs that really work are ones where the kids also have something to do.
I was in New Orleans last week and they've got a curfew center there so that if a young person violates the curfew, they don't put them in jail, fine them or just drop them back off at home and let them go out and get in trouble again; they take them to the curfew center and they try to come up with a plan to help the kids with their lives.
Long Beach, California has a school uniform policy because they had such a gang problem there. And the kids designed their own uniform school by school. But it's reduced violence and other kinds of problems there. There are different ways that are dealing with this.
A lot of schools are trying to stay open later, and a lot of places are trying to develop programs like you've got here, where you try to get parents as well as the young people involved in community restitution and rehabilitation efforts.
But the main thing I want to say, to get back to answering your question is, our country has got to make a commitment to understand that when -- normally when we see a serious crime, that's the end of years of difficulties that a lot of people have; and that we simply cannot jail our way out of America's crime problem. We are going to have to invest some more money in prevention. (Applause.)
And I say that as somebody who stared out in law enforcement as attorney general over 20 years ago -- almost 20 years ago. And when I was governor I built a lot of prison cells, and I passed a lot of laws toughening penalties. And, you know, we had a very tough approach. But these young people -- somebody has got to do something to give them a chance to live an organized, positive life. And when we wrote the Crime Bill -- it's very interesting, we passed the Crime Bill in 1994. I'm proud of the fact that it's putting 100,000 more police officers on the street.
But I said then and I say again, I'm sure you would corroborate this, a lot of these police officers and a lot of the good they're doing is they're stopping crime from happening in the first place, not just catching criminals more quickly. And we have -- all I can tell you is we need to build more support nationally and in every state legislature in the country and every local government in the country for these kind of programs, because the social and economic realities in which a lot of these young folks are growing up in put them under a lot of pressure that people our age didn't face when we were their age.
It's just a plain truth -- and we have to find an organized, disciplined caring environment that we -- we need to help their parents and support them. There's so many -- so many single parents out there doing the best they can.
And I was sitting there -- I was looking at Shane and Tony and Stan and thinking, you know, one way or the other these three kids are our future. They're our future, and we've got to take responsibility at least to give them the best chance they can to make a good future for themselves and for the rest of us. And I want to thank you, Kirby for spending your life on this. (Applause.)
Another point. I just want to make one more point and then I'd like to go back and let anybody else talk who wants to talk. For it is amazing to me how much some of these community programs can do on a modest budget. We're not talking about spending a fortune here. A lot of these community-based programs are so much less expensive than a lot of the more expensive things that happen later on.
If the program Shane was in works, and he never develops a serious drug habit, then it's a lot less expensive than treating somebody for a serious drug problem later on. That's just one example, you know. Whatever it costs for Tony to have somebody to check in twice a day with, gives him a chance to graduate from high school, maybe go on to college, get a good job, have a good, successful life -- whatever it costs will be a pittance of what we would all pay if his life took a different turn.
And the same thing is true for every young person. So I want to say that I was so impressed when I read about these programs, and I have been almost obsessed with this juvenile crime problem, not only because it makes our people feel less safe but because of what has happened to all these kids we're losing. And I just also want to say one other thing to urge you to support the Governor and you've got your County Commissioner and the Mayor here, the two Senators are here -- just now coming into our schools there is another baby boom generation. A lot of people don't know this and haven't focussed on this yet.
I'm the oldest of the children born right after World War II, and we're the biggest -- the people of my age and down, about 15 or 16 years younger than me, are the biggest group of Americans ever born into this country. There is now a group just now starting into grade school that, when they get in their school years, will be slightly bigger than we are as a generation. And if we don't turn this juvenile crime problem around by the time they're 13 to 16, you cannot imagine what we're going to be grappling with. These young people are actually in a group of Americans that aren't particularly numerous. Their parents were of a generation where people had relatively fewer children, and there weren't so many people in their child-bearing years.
I don't want to use this -- this will sound wrong, but these kids have, in a way, by going through this, have given us a chance to figure out for future generations how to rescue young people and support mothers like Joy. And we better take advantage of them and we better do it now, because if we wait another five or six years, the dimensions of the problem will be roughly two to three times greater than they are now. And it will be unmanageable.
So I still -- my own view is the right thing for the national government to do is to provide the resources and the legal and other support necessary to let communities pick those programs that are most likely to work best for them, because not every program works the same in every place. And the truth is that every one of these programs, you've got to have some caring adult and some system that works -- somebody who can stand up like this gentleman down here and get a round of applause because the kids relate to him -- or her, as the case may be.
So I don't think that we should be prescribing what works. What we have tried to do, in our administration, is go around and find things that are working, and if people are having some trouble spreading it, like the uniform policy, the curfews, or whatever, we try to help them do that. And otherwise, we try to provide what money we could pass in the Congress to let the communities decide what works best. And that's what I think we should do.
SENATOR REID: Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Senator Reid.
SENATOR REID: You've been very modest in responding to Kirby Burgess' question about why aren't there more programs like this. I think that it's fair to say as a member of Congress how we have had to struggle the last year and a half to save programs like Drug-Free Schools, School-to-Work, fighting for some of these programs that assist people like these three young men up here. And, as I repeat, you've been very modest because this has been -- without your leadership, even those programs would be gone.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, to be explicit, when we fought the Crime Bill in 1994, there were people who basically said, all Washington should do is pass penalties and build prisons; that we shouldn't put the police out there. We shouldn't ban assault weapons. We shouldn't have a waiting period for hand guns. And that it was a waste of money to give funds to communities for these prevention programs. You remember the debate very well.
And the most important thing I want to focus on today, I mean, I think the evidence is clear now on what we did on the others -- that we were right. But the most important thing is we didn't win the whole fight on the prevention programs, as you know, although both of you tried to help me. But when you see programs like this, you just have to say that every one of these -- every young person in the country -- every person like Stanley Johnson in the country ought to be in one of these programs who needs it. (Applause.) And until that happens, it shouldn't be a -- (applause) -- that ought to be a test.
But maybe we'll turn it around now -- thanks to all of you.
Q Mr. President, we have time for one more question, either from you or something you want to say. We certainly can -- I'd like to pose one question then, because I think it's, in fairness to this panel discussion and as an administrator, I want to know what we can do to improve our services. Does Shane or you, Anthony or Stanley -- anything that we can do to improve services for young people to keep them out of drugs, gangs, and problems like some of the kind you've gone through? Any last-minute thoughts on that?
Q I'd like to see, you know, something -- just get together -- just a big event with a lot of the kids that are out there, that are on the streets, that are still using drugs, that are still getting into trouble, still getting sent to juvenile hall and getting locked up. I'd like to see just a big event happen -- dance, Coke, chips, stuff like that -- just a big get-together. And have people talk and try to tell you what's going on here. That's what I'd like to see.
Q Any final comments, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, let's see if anybody -- Tony?
Q No, I don't.
THE PRESIDENT: Stanley? (Laughter.)
You're doing great. Let me ask you something. I want to ask you guys something -- just one thing. If we weren't here in this big crowd of people, if we were just sitting alone in a room so you didn't have to worry about being on television and wearing a tie and suit -- don't be nervous; you look good in it -- (laughter) -- and you were trying to tell me what one thing or two things you think I could do or that we could do that would make it possible for more young people to make it, either to stay out of trouble or to get out of trouble if they get in, what do you think we could do to change the way things are in America that would make you feel better about it, that would make you feel better about your future? Is there any one thing you could tell me that you think that we ought to be working on, that would make the biggest difference to the largest number of young people your age?
Q I don't think it's about anybody else. It's all about yourself. If you want to do it, you'll do it, basically. That's what it was with me. You know, I had help --I had people helping me along the way, but it's all from you. If you want to change, if you want to stay off the drugs, if you want to do what you want to do, you're going to do it.
THE PRESIDENT: So that's why you made the other suggestion you did, that at least if you got all the kids together, they would know what was there for them if they were inclined to ask for help.
What about you, Tony?
Q I can't really think of nothing.
THE PRESIDENT: You think the program has been a good thing for you?
THE PRESIDENT: Are there a lot of young people your age that need programs like this and aren't in them -- that you know of?
Q Not that I can think of right now, but yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: You think there are or there aren't? You think you're reaching most of the people?
What about you? You have done well. Let's give the young men a hand. Let's give them a hand. They have done well. (Applause.)
Q Mr. President, on behalf of the entire state of Nevada -- I know I speak for the Governor and the Board of County Commissioners and the juvenile judges and the sheriff and everybody else in the congressional delegation -- that we are just awfully grateful that you are here and you took time out of your busy schedule to talk with us and visit our kids. Feel free to come back again. We would love to have you. (Laughter and applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. I would like to, before I go, I would like to just very briefly thank Dr. Harter and the staff here at UNLV for letting us all come on a difficult day. (Applause.) And I want to thank Senator Reid and Senator Bryan for their support for these programs in Washington. (Applause.) And I want to thank all the folks here on the panel, and the Governor and Mr. Wingett and especially you, Kirby.
But ladies and gentlemen, let me say again to you, I thank you for coming out today. If you look at these -- when we leave here, now you look at these three boys sitting up here with me. And remember what I told you. If I had told you three and a half years ago when I was inaugurated President, that we would have three years of declining crime but that the crime rate among juveniles would go up, you would have a hard time believing that.
We cannot let that be true five or ten years from now. It will consume this country. It will change the whole way we live. So if you really like what you have seen today, and you liked seeing these young folks up here sitting with the President instead of being in trouble, and being nervous and doing the best they can to do something good -- if you like that, then you need to support these programs, and you need to make sure every child in this state that needs it is in one. And you need to support these people that are doing it, because they are proof that we can turn this around, but we haven't gotten to everybody or the numbers wouldn't be what they are. And we have to do it.
This is a very urgent problem for our country, and we can only change it in two ways. One is, like Shane said, when people decide they are going to make a difference in their own lives. And secondly, when adults like you take responsibility in every community. We will keep trying to our part, but remember, we need you. And if you liked this today, when you go out of here, make sure you're going to do something to turn this statement around. Thank you and God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 11:45 PDT