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Misconceptions about high-risk youth offenders

Misconceptions about high-risk youth offenders California Progress Report, May 11, 2012

Misconceptions about high-risk youth offenders
The High Desert Daily Press featured a three-part story last week exploring how San Bernardino County prosecutes, supervises, and rehabilitates their juvenile offenders.  Daily Press reporter Beatriz E. Valenzuela looked at patterns of juvenile crime and arrest reductions, the unbridled powers of local district attorneys to "direct file" juveniles into adult court , and the impact of adult realignment and Governor Brown's juvenile realignment plan on local corrections systems.   The facts…
Study: Long-term juvenile incarceration fails to decrease reoffending rates
A March 2011 study through the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) concludes that long-term juvenile incarceration does not decrease reoffending, and may actually increase recidivism rates for lower-level youth offenders.  Researchers conducted more than 21,000 interviews over 8 years with more than 1,300 felony offenders ages 14--18 in the cities of Philadelphia and Phoenix.   Researchers also interviewed parents and peers and examined arrest records. Their…
CJCJ supports SB 1180: Pretrial release on own recognizance
Yesterday, the California Senate Public Safety Committee voted 5-2 to pass Senate Bill 1180 (Hancock) for a floor vote.  This bill is a significant piece of legislation that will have a significant impact on the high rates of un-sentenced individuals held in county jails.  If the bill continues to proceed in the legislative arc and is signed by the Governor, California counties would have enhanced incentives to utilize best practice risk-assessment tools for determining whether an accused…
Adult realignment provides counties with opportunities for innovation
Data from the Corrections Standards Authority shows that 71% of jail space in California counties is filled by individuals who are unsentenced.  For the simple reason of not being able to afford a bail amount that varies widely from county to county for the same sentence, these individuals are separated from their communities, families, receive no rehabilitative programming, taking up jail beds that should be used for offenders determined to be a risk to their community, all at the costs of…
Adult realignment and the county jail building boom
Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union released an insightful, comprehensive report on county plans for a massive jail expansion using funding allocated through Assembly Bill 109 and Assembly Bill 900.   AB 109 is the adult realignment bill that shifted responsibility for supervising low-level offenders (non-non-non's) from the state to the county level along with $367 million for first-year implementation.  Adult realignment in California comes at time when public opinion is shifting…
Pew Study: strong majority of voters favor alternatives to incarceration
A new Pew research poll released last week shows that voters across the U.S. are overwhelmingly in favor of reducing prison spending and support shifting resources to community supervision rather than incarceration, specifically for low-level offenders.  The national poll also shows that voters prioritize reductions in recidivism as the primary "end goal" of corrections, even if it means offenders spend less time behind bars and more time in rehabilitative programming.   Public…
California Senate hears arguments for juvenile justice realignment
On Thursday, the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety heard testimony on Governor Brown's proposal to close California's remaining youth correctional facilities  and shift supervision of the remaining 985 youth to the county-level.  Strong public testimony was offered by the Department of Finance, the Legislative Analysts Office, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ), and the Commonweal Foundation arguing for complete juvenile realignment from a variety of angles.   Dan…
Misplaced priorities: California's spending on prisons vs. higher education
A March 1st SF Chronicle article highlighted recent comments made in Washington D.C. by retiring SF State President Robert Corrigan about California's excessive prison spending and annual cuts to higher education.  He noted that, "California is spending nearly as much money on prisons ($8.7 billion, or 9.45 percent of its budget), as it does on all of higher education ($9.3 billion, or 10.1 percent of its budget)".    Looking at just the UC's and CSU's, the state spends less than half ($4.6…
Humboldt County's regional "New Horizons" program delivers impressive results
Humboldt County's Probation Department is leading the way in utilizing innovative funding streams for serving California's highest-risk, highest-need youthful offenders. The department utilizes innovating funding streams in their New Horizons program to provide mental health in-facility and aftercare treatment in a way that puts rehabilitation at the center of their department's mission. From Humboldt's County Probation Deptartment's website : New Horizons, an intensive…
Legislative Analysts Office (LAO) calls for completing juvenile realignment
Last week the LAO released a report entitled "Completing Juvenile Justice Realignment" .  The report supports Governor Brown's juvenile realignment proposal and calls for a staggered closure of DJF facilities while transferring funding and supervision responsibilities to the county level.   The LAO notes that the state's current two-tier system where the state supervises just 1% of incarcerated youth limits county responsibility, limits coordination of community-based…
California Activists Calling for Changes to State's Juvenile Justice System
California Activists Calling for Changes to State's Juvenile Justice System Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, February 10, 2012
Ventura YCF: A stain on California
Is this really what our taxpayer dollars are paying for? Lino Silva is one of the 344 juveniles currently incarcerated at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility, a 98-year-old youth facility that is crumbling beyond repair.  Facing inhumane and dangerous conditions, and under the threat of reprisals from guards, Lino launched a petition drive through Change.org to improve basic living standards at the Ventura facility. Titled "A Stain on California," Lino's petition states…
New report highlights California's "hidden" prison costs
A new report out from the Vera institute conducts a state-by-state analysis of ballooning corrections budgets, far greater than previously reported. Overall, states' corrections budgets have quadrupled over the last 20 years while funding for education and preventative services has either stagnated or been cut dramatically. When additional corrections costs are considered such as retirement health care for employees, pensions, prisoner health care, and current employee benefits, taxpayers are…
Momentum growing for juvenile realignment
Consensus is growing in the Capitol that California's youth correctional facilities need to be closed, with funding and supervision responsibilities realigned to the counties. Building on Past Policy Recommendations: In 2008 the Little Hoover Commission recommended that the state's Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) close its doors and for California to move towards a county-based juvenile system. In early 2011, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) concluded , "Less than 1…
San Bernardino County's model program for youth offenders
Since 2007, San Bernardino County's Probation Department has made strategic, bold changes in order to align their systems with modern and effective best practices for the rehabilitation and reentry of youth offenders.  Prior to 2007, San Bernardino had a history of state-dependency for their youthful offender population and was the subject of a lawsuit for facility conditions and practices.  Over the last four years, the county has demonstrated admirable leadership and innovation in utilizing…
New report supports Governor's plan to realign juvenile justice
A new report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) entitled Juvenile Justice Realignment in 2012 provides support for Governor Brown's realignment proposal and offers five policy recommendations that include a three-year process that allows counties time to design new services and infrastructure.  At the end of three years, the state will no longer manage youth correctional institutions and the resources that used to sustain these facilities will be transferred to the…
Report highlights racial disparities in CA's juvenile justice system
A recent report by the W. Haywood Burns Institute indicates that while California's current corrections policies appear to be race-neutral, data shows that many young people of color are being incarcerated at higher rates than white youth for non-criminal acts rather than being treated for mental health and behavioral health needs.     The report, titled "Non-Judicial Drivers into the Juvenile Justice System for Youth of Color" , highlights multiple studies that point to the same conclusion: …
Juvenile Justice Realignment in 2012
Juvenile Justice Realignment in 2012
Bold and innovative leadership from Alameda County
Alameda County's Chief Probation Officer David Muhammad demonstrates innovative and determined leadership through his new approach to serving juvenile justice involved youth.  He employs a youth development framework that views youthful offenders not simply as a "bundle of needs and problems", but rather as individuals with real resiliency and strengths that can be incorporated into their plan for rehabilitation and reentry.  In his recent keynote address at the California Wellness…

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