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

SAN FRANCISCO – February 27, 2018 – A new fact sheet from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds that state spending at California’s state youth correctional system, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), continues to rise despite continued reductions in its youth population. For the 2018-19 fiscal year, the Governor’s Budget proposes expanding DJJ to a larger population of young adults, accompanied by a budget increase of nearly $4 million.

DJJ cost per youth, actua (FY 12-13), projected (FY 17-18), and proposed (FY 18-19)

 The fact sheet finds:

  • State youth correctional facilities will cost taxpayers a record high of $317,771 per youth in FY 2017-18.

  • Since 2011, DJJ has reported a 39% decrease in its population, resulting in facilities that are operating at just 37% of their design capacity. As a result, per capita costs at DJJ have climbed each year since FY 2012-13.

  • The DJJ budget has increased for three consecutive years, despite a downward trend in population. The budget proposal to expand DJJ in FY 2018-19 would offset the division’s years-long population declines and increase its budget to over $200 million.

  • Counties reimburse a small share of DJJ costs and vary widely in their reliance on the system. The 19 counties with the highest DJJ commitment rates are 29 times more likely, on average, to place a young person at DJJ compared to the state’s 20 lowest committing counties. The result is a lopsided fiscal burden: counties with low DJJ commitment rates, such as Santa Clara or San Diego, subsidize the cost of counties with higher rates.

Read the full fact sheet >>

Contact: For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact CJCJ Communications at (415) 400-5214 or

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