News and publications

Youth Prison Paradox: Californians Want Them Shut Down While Counties Keep Building

Youth Prison Paradox: Californians Want Them Shut Down While Counties Keep Building

Originally posted in The Chronicle of Social Change. 

The Chronicle of Social Change quotes CJCJ's Director of Policy Brian Goldstein about California's growing awareness that incarcerating youth does not make communities safer. 


From the article:

According to a new poll released Wednesday by the California Endowment, a majority of California residents say they’d like to see all of the state’s juvenile incarceration facilities closed down.

The survey comes at a time when counties are adapting to a significant downturn in youth crime and flagging numbers of young people incarcerated at juvenile camps, halls and ranches across the state. However, the past few years have seen several counties open new or refurbished juvenile detention facilities, a trend that will test the state’s ability to reduce its reliance on incarceration.

...

Several more juvenile detention facilities are underway using money from SB 81, including facilities being constructed in Santa Clara and Monterey Counties. Brian Goldstein, director of policy for the San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, remains concerned that the money allocated to large juvenile detention facilities could be better used to help high-needs youth at the community level.

He cited a campaign by Salinas-based young advocacy organization MILPA to reduce the number of beds in a new juvenile hall in Monterey County from 150 to 120. The facility is scheduled to open in September 2019. According to Goldstein, that’s an example of how some counties in California are starting the slow process to dial back youth incarceration.

“In the past, the measurement for what makes communities safer was one-dimensional; it was how many people are incarcerated in these facilities,” Goldstein said. “Now we have a much broader sense of what public safety means, what public health means. I think that’s why you’re seeing more Californians support systematic reform that’s necessary for the state and our communities.”

Read the full article on The Chronicle of Social Change >>

View the California Endowment's survey results >> 


Related Links: 

An Opportunity for Juvenile Justice Innovation in California

State spent millions on youth facilities despite drop in crime

More money, more beds?


Sections