News and publications

California’s Local Juvenile Facility Populations Continue to Decline in 2017

In 2017, California’s local juvenile justice facilities showed continued drops in their populations. Newly released data from California’s Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) show that the total average daily populations of California’s juvenile halls and camps, from June 2016 to June 2017, declined by 5.1 percent.

This continues a long-standing trend for California’s juvenile justice systems. CJCJ has previously reported on California’s precipitous drop in youth arrests, which have fallen continuously since 2007. Most recently, California saw approximately 9,200 fewer arrests of young people in 2016 compared to 2015. In addition, California’s costly state youth correctional system, the Division of Juvenile Justice, has experienced significant drops in its population, which is estimated at approximately 615 during fiscal year 2017-18.  

The new county-level population data from the BSCC show a continued drop in the number of youth detained and confined locally through June 2017. The BSCC gathers this information from counties and makes the data accessible through its juvenile detention profile survey. The average daily population at county juvenile halls has dropped over 4 percent, while the number of youth in county camps/ranches has dropped over 7 percent (Table 1). The total county juvenile hall and camp/ranch capacity remained effectively flat during this period of decline.  

California's County Juvenile Justice Facility Populations

Source: Juvenile Detention Profile Survey, 2018.

Consequently, California’s counties continue to have significant unused juvenile and camp/ranch bed capacity (Table 2). As of June 2017, there is a total of 5,331 unused juvenile hall bed capacity and 2,864 unused camp/ranch bed capacity, for a total of 8,195 empty beds in local facilities. While this is a one-month snapshot from 2017, subject to changing crime trends and population flows, it nevertheless aligns with California’s ongoing positive juvenile justice trends and the potential for local alternatives to the state’s failing youth correctional system. 

California's County Juvenile Justice Facility Populations- By County

Source: Juvenile Detention Profile Survey, 2018.

Related Links:

California Youth Continue to Bring Steep Declines in Juvenile Arrests

New Fact Sheet: Costs Rise Amid Falling Populations at California’s Division of Juvenile Justice

2018-19 Budget Proposal Would Expand California’s Youth Correctional System at a Time of Falling Populations