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KQED Forum and KALW News highlight the debate on DJF elimination

On January 27, 2011, CJCJ's Executive Director Daniel Macallair and UC Berkeley's Law School Research and Policy Director Barry Krisberg were featured on KQED's Forum and KALW News, discussing the Governor Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminate the DJF by June 2014. 

On KQED's Forum, Dr. Krisberg voiced concern about the current ability of the counties to provide appropriate services to serious youthful offenders.  He pointed to L.A. County, which currently houses 370 youths in DJF, and is under a federal civil rights consent decree due to inadequate county juvenile justice services.  He highlighted the lack of available funding to supplement resources at the county-level, and lamented the counties "laissez-faire capitalism."  He concluded with apprehension that elimination of the DJF would condemn this high-needs population to the adult prison system.

Daniel Macallair discussed the merits of a best practices approach to juvenile justice.  He indicated that the well-established concept of a continuum of locally-based facilities and services for all youthful offenders could be better provided at the county-level.  He described the of some California counties in the recent past that have produced several model programs to serve youths who would otherwise be sent to DJF.  These counties include Santa Cruz, , and Humboldt.  He commented on funding streams that are available to counties but have not yet been fully maximized. 

Both speakers highlighted the state's important role in juvenile justice oversight and county accountability.  Instead of operating archaic state institutions, Daniel Macallair emphasized the importance of state oversight of county practices, suggesting "a state office, that has teeth, that can impose standards at the county level, that provides monitoring, evaluation, supervision, and funding, to ensure that all 58 counties are in compliance." 

He emphasized that in the face of a $28 billion deficit; the state can no longer afford a dual system and must make a choice about how to administer its spending.  He concludes "we are not going to face the challenges of the future by maintaining the problems of the past... It is time to move on."

Listen to the KQED forum discussion

Listen to the KALW News broadcast here.

~Selena Teji

Sentencing Service Program Case Specialist

Keywords: DJF/DJJ, fiscal policy, Selena Teji, state policy

Posted in Blog, Juvenile Justice, Realignment

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