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New Fact Sheet: Spending on California’s Youth Correctional System Soars Amid Administrative Shifts

SAN FRANCISCO – February 25, 2020 – A new fact sheet from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds that state spending on California’s dangerous and prison-like youth correctional system, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), is expected to soar amid plans to transfer it into the Health and Human Services Agency in July 2020. For the 2020-21 fiscal year, the Governor’s office proposes a DJJ budget of nearly $300 million costing approximately $336,000 per youth.

The fact sheet finds:

  • The DJJ budget would increase by nearly $100 million amid a planned reorganization of the state youth correctional system (FY 2020-21 vs. FY 2018-19).
  • DJJ would cost taxpayers a record-setting $336,021 per youth in FY 2020-21, which is more than six times the cost of a year at Stanford University.
  • DJJ’s workforce would exceed 1,400 positions in FY 2020-21, a 31 percent increase over FY 2018-19 staffing levels. While staff would far outnumber young people in the institutions (1.6 staff for every one youth), the number of staff that have direct contact with youth is comparatively low.
  • Reliance on DJJ varies widely across California, with 17 counties sending no youth to the state system and 14 counties having fewer than five youth at DJJ as of December 2019.

Read the full fact sheet >>

Contact: For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact CJCJ Communications at (415) 621-5661 x. 103 or

Keywords: budget, Division of Juvenile Justice, DJJ, Juvenile justice, Maureen Washburn, youth corrections

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