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Senate Bill 493 (2021)

Thank you to our co-authors and supporters! Senate Bill 493 will not be moving forward this year. We look forward to investing in youth and communities through future collaboration.


Senate Bill 493 (Bradford), The PROMYSE (Promoting Youth Success and Empowerment) Act, will dramatically improve spending and accountability of an annual state grant called the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act (JJCPA).

For 20 years, California counties have poorly spent hundreds of millions in JJCPA dollars, which are designated to support justice-involved and “at-promise” youth locally, and the state has done little to ensure accountability. In fiscal year 2019-20, counties received a total of $167 million from this non-competitive grant. In May 2020, the California State Auditor released a scathing report verifying long-held concerns about JJCPA spending, decision-making, and reporting.

According to the state auditor, counties have not shown that their JJCPA-funded programs are effective. Additionally, counties "failed to demonstrate how their strategies for addressing juvenile crime and delinquency had changed over the last 20 years.” Four of the five counties sampled spent over 75 percent of their JJCPA funds on probation departments in fiscal year 2017-18, despite massive declines in youth referrals to probation.  This spending runs counter to JJCPA goals since probation supervision can pull youth deeper into the system and have lasting collateral consequences on youths’ educational and employment outcomes.

Youth arrests have declined by over 80 percent since 2000, leaving far more youth whose needs can only be met by community-based service providers. Yet most counties spend little to none of their JJCPA funds on community-based organizations (CBOs). Community-based programs centered on positive youth development can better serve youth and fulfill the original vision for JJCPA.

Some JJCPA-funded programs can even have a net-widening effect and negatively impact youth participants, unless the state establishes guidelines and accountability measures. While each county is required to make JJCPA funding decisions through a Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council (JJCC), the state auditor  found that counties left mandatory stakeholder seats vacant. 20 percent of all counties lacked a JJCC entirely during the audit review period.  

SB 493 will revitalize California's JJCPA grant and ensure stable funding for critical services run by schools, public health agencies, and CBOs to support at-promise and justice-involved youth. We must also confront the legacy of policy choices that have resulted in a justice system that disparately harms youth of color. Better JJCPA investments can ensure state funds no longer prop up a system that has failed communities of color. Instead, we can invest in youth development and equity.

This legislation will:

  • Reinvest JJCPA dollars into communities by requiring counties to distribute at least 95 percent of allotted JJCPA funds to CBOs and/or public agencies that are non-law enforcement agencies.

  • Ensure equal community representation in decision making by requiring counties’ JJCCs, which decide how JJCPA funds are spent, to designate co-chairs and allocate 50 percent of its seats to community members.

  • Strengthen county reporting and evaluation processes by the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) to include critical evidence regarding youth served and program effectiveness.


Author:
Senator Bradford

Co-author: Assemblymembers Stone, Lee, and Chiu

Co-sponsors: 

  • ACLU California Action
  • Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (ABMoC)
  • Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC)
  • Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, California
  • Children's Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA)
  • Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ)
  • Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ)
  • MILPA Collective
  • National Center for Youth Law (NCYL)
  • W. Haywood Burns Institute
  • Urban Peace Institute
  • Youth Justice Coalition - Los Angeles (YJC)

Status: Passed in Senate Public Safety Committee (April 20, 2021). Held in Senate Appropriations Committee (May 20, 2021).

SB 493 Materials: 

Contact: For more information on SB 493, please contact CJCJ Communications and Policy Analyst Renee Menart at renee@cjcj.org or (415) 621-5661 x. 103.

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