On November 8th, Californians will have the opportunity to cast a vote in support of Prop 57, a measure that would expand opportunities for rehabilitation by making commonsense reforms to the state’s juvenile and criminal justice systems. CJCJ supports Prop 57 in its entirety because it advances the values of rehabilitation and supportive reentry, and aligns with the agency’s mission to reduce society’s reliance on incarceration as a solution to social problems.
Juvenile Justice Reform: Repealing "Direct File"
Prop 57 will abolish "direct file" — a practice that allows prosecutors to files charges against youth as young as 14 years old directly in adult criminal court. Direct file bars hundreds of young people each year from the juvenile justice system, relegating them instead to more punitive adult criminal courts. Furthermore, the use of direct file has shown to disparately impact youth of color and vary widely between counties, leading to a system of "justice-by-geography."
By removing prosecutor's ability to direct file, Prop 57 will return the authority juvenile court judges who may decide to transfer youth to adult criminal court through a "transfer" or "fitness hearing." Prop 57 will shift the presumptive burden to prove that a young person should be moved to adult criminal from the youth to the prosecutor, and the judge will have an opportunity to deliberate over the young person's life circumstances, experience with trauma, and physical, mental and emotional state at the time of the offense.
Click on the map below to see county-level data on direct file and fitness hearings in California's 58 counties