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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 17, 2023 03:36 PM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta
To: All Senate members
Subject: Liquor Code Amendment - Allowing Juvenile Offenders to Participate in Mentorship Program
On any given day in the United States, there are more than 50,000 young people under the age of 21 being held in detention facilities.  Unfortunately, studies have shown that over half of these offenders will be rearrested within a year of release, and as many as 40% of them will end up in prison by the age of 25.  In order to reduce these recidivism rates, we need to ensure that young Pennsylvanians have the tools to become upstanding citizens.
While there are many ways to help juvenile offenders reintegrate into their community, one model that has been effective in other states is a fine dining restaurant that offers educational programming designed to provide culinary and life skills, together with support services, to minors involved in the criminal justice system.  At these restaurants, juveniles are given case management and internships that allow them to rotate through all aspects of the restaurant, focusing on life and social skills development. The interns can then be placed in jobs at community partner organizations upon completion of the program.  This combination of juvenile rehabilitation, workforce training, and fine dining offers a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between vulnerable minors and their community.
In order to bring this type of restaurant model to Pennsylvania, I will be introducing legislation to allow such a non-profit organization to employ minors as young as 15 in an establishment that serves alcohol, just as ski resorts, golf courses, and amusement parks can.  These workers would be prohibited from serving or dispensing alcohol while still being able to gain valuable life and employment skills.  The legislation will be specific to Allegheny County and will not change the law in any other county.
Please join me in giving our young residents the opportunity to serve their communities and reach their full potential. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB349