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Public Relations and the California Youth Corrections System

Daniel Macallair, MPA, Executive Director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, article titled "Wasting Tax Dollars: Public Relations and the California Youth Corrections System" was recently featured in the California Progress Report. Mr. Macallair discusses that despite the class action law suit (Farrell v Cate) against the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the state is not in full compliance with reforming the State's youth correctional facilities. Further, the article exposes DJJ's recent media campaign. Below is an excerpt of Macallair's article:

After nearly 25 years in the criminal justice field, I never cease to be shocked at the volume of misinformation spewed by some correctional bureaucracies to hype their performance or justify their existence. Nowhere is this more evident than here in California, where our highly dysfunctional youth corrections system, the Division of Juvenile Justice, -- formally known as the California Youth Authority -- has launched a tax-payer funded campaign to polish its tarnished image.

The apparent purpose of the campaign is to convince the state's 58 county juvenile courts that a miraculous change has occurred within the correctional facilities and that Judges need not fear committing more youth to their custody. All this is occurring in the context of the Farrell v Cate lawsuit -- a class action case brought against the state's youth corrections system for its historic practice of placing youths in poorly managed and gang ravaged institutions with little rehabilitation. Recognizing its tenuous legal position, the State of California admitted its failures, entered in to a consent decree in 2004, and agreed to institute a complete and comprehensive restructuring of what a team of independent correctional experts decried as a "system broken almost everywhere you look."

To read the whole article, please click on the article's title listed above.

~Tamra Otten, CJCJ staff

Keywords: abuse, CYA, Daniel Macallair, DJF/DJJ, youth

Posted in Blog, Correctional Institutions

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