Photo by Robert Pacheco
In January 1971, a remarkable event occurred that permanently altered conventional assumptions about justice administration. Jerome G. Miller, then commissioner of youth corrections in Massachusetts, systemically implemented the most sweeping reforms in correctional history. He closed the state's five juvenile reform schools and transferred over 1,500 youths to an assortment of community-based programs. These actions, which were at first greeted with skepticism and disdain by much of the correctional establishment, proved to be revolutionary in changing popular assumptions about the treatment of justice-involved youth. Research revealed that when not subjected to abusive prison-like conditions, young offenders were less likely to display violent and criminally-prone behaviors later on. Most importantly, well-designed and properly implemented rehabilitation programs substantially reduced recidivism among even the most difficult offenders.
A growing number of jurisdictions throughout the United States are now recognizing the importance of replacing retributive practices with a more balanced array of sanctions and interventions. Without a focus on offender-social reintegration, current criminal justice policies founder on the mistaken premise that criminal behavior is reduced by the harsh conditions of modern correctional institutions. By failing to address the root causes of crime, criminal justice policies that rely on incarceration exacerbate public safety risks, as evidenced by recidivism rates around the country that exceed 70%.
The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) established a firm foundation in the philosophies of Mr. Miller’s work in the juvenile justice field. We promote balanced and humane criminal and juvenile justice policies through direct services, technical assistance, and policy analysis.
The quality of our work is demonstrated through our various initiatives. Our Detention Diversion Advocacy Program (DDAP), an alternative to secure detention for San Francisco youths, was a 1999 semi finalist for Harvard University’s prestigious Innovations in Government Award. In 2000, the United States Department of Justice cited DDAP as a national model and five cities around the country have replicated it in their jurisdictions.
CJCJ also operates model intensive case management for specialized adult populations and residential drug treatment programs for adult parolees. In merging with the Northern California Service League (NCSL) in 2012, CJCJ expanded its expertise and ability to provide employment readiness and transitional housing services to formerly incarcerated individuals in the Bay Area.
CJCJ's policy efforts center on sentencing and adult corrections reform and juvenile justice reform. In the past five years, by working in partnership with all major criminal justice stakeholders, including legislators, correctional administrators, district attorneys, defender advocates, community-based organizations, and civil rights groups, CJCJ has performed a leadership role in helping forge a broad consensus on reforming California’s justice system.
Although humane treatment of individuals convicted of criminal acts is not always a popular issue, it is central to CJCJ’s mission. An effective justice system is one that focuses on creating fewer victims, not better criminals. After more than two decades, CJCJ is a premier leader in justice reform. Our success is rooted in our commitment and determination to assume the most difficult challenges and not become complacent with conventional approaches.
Only a more humane and sensible justice system will attain the goal of greater public safety and social justice.
Daniel Macallair, M.P.A
(415) 621-5661 ext. 111
For more information please download Mr. Macallair’s Curriculum Vitae or visit his bio.