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News items related to Farrell

DJF Update: Need for authentic, integrated reform

California’s youth correctional system, the Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF), commonly referred to as DJJ, is entering its tenth year under a consent decree to reform its practices to provide safe and rehabilitative environment. In October 2013, the latest and 27th Report of the Special Master was filed with the court.

California's Division of Juvenile Facilities: Nine Years After Farrell

This publication reviews the progress DJF has made in implementing Court-ordered reforms, using qualitative and quantitative data from the court-appointed expert in safety and welfare, the Special Master who oversees all Farrell reforms, and the CDCR. 

Institutional setting continues to hinder DJF staff reform efforts

Age-old practices have slowly begun to shift at California’s Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) as staff experiment with common-sense reforms, such as positive reinforcement, limiting use of isolation, and providing access to outdoor recreational space.  However, barriers towards sustainable reform will exist as long as youth are housed in outdated institutions.

DJF's reform efforts, sounding like a broken record
The purpose of the juvenilejustice system  is to rehabilitate youth, a concept California's Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) continues to struggle with. Progress in reform efforts through the Farrell lawsuit, now entering its second decade, have begun to sound like a broken record.   In October 2012, the most recent Report of the Special Master  released to the court commends DJF on certain improvements; however, areas crucial to the reform process have yet to meet compliance.  Key areas…
Perceived improvements to confinement
It's all relative, as the saying goes.  It is true that there have been recent improvements to California's youth correctional facilities, Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF).  Youth are no longer being fed blender meals and are no longer being educated in cages as they were just a less than a decade ago. However, the recently touted successes include meeting provisionary goals as outlined in the 21st Special Master Report  of the Farrell lawsuit, such as developing implementation plans and…
DJF culture shift absent as lawsuit continues
As of January 2012, three of California's Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) remain, O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility (OHCYCF), N.A. Chaderjian (NACYCF) in Stockton, CA and Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF) in Ventura, California.  The Southern Reception Center closed down at the end of the 2011, transferring the remaining youth and 77 staff to VYCF, now the only DJF facility in southern California.  Already plagued with abuses and strained past capacity, VYCF continues to…
DJF: No special treatment for youth with special needs
The 19th report of the Special Master , in the ongoing Farrell v. Cate lawsuit to reform California's Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) was released early September.  A major theme I discovered was the lack of DJF's ability to provide for those individuals with special needs, particularly in the areas of special education, mental health, and wards with physical and mental disabilities.   While these populations may be more challenging to serve than the general population, the presence of…
Farrell Update: Motion Granted
Last week, in response to the July 7th Farrell hearing , Judge Tigar enforced the Prison Law Office's (representing Farrell )  motion to hold California's state-run juvenile correctional facilities (DJF) accountable, specifically for unmet educational and programmatic requirements. DJF remains in violation of a 2005 court order to meet the 4-hour minimum requirement per youth per day for educational programming.  In July 2011, DJF said they needed at least 90 days to hire adequate staff to…
New report, same problems: DJF's prolonged progress
Last week, just prior to the Farrell hearing, the Office of the Special Master released the 18th report documenting DJF's efforts to comply with the remedial plans' minimum standards of care.  It covers the following: "¢ Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF) audit "¢ Sexual Behavior Treatment Program (SBTP ) update "¢ Integrated Behavioral Treatment Model (IBTM) "¢ 'Use-of-force' report "¢ Closure of Preston Youth Correctional Facility In her report, Special Master Campbell…
Unmet promises subject DJF wards to unconstitutional conditions
Thursday morning's Farrell hearing did not reach a decision.   The purpose of the hearing was to consider the Prison Law Office's (plaintiff) motion to hold DJF (defendant) in contempt of court for the unconstitutional levels of care provided to youth at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF).  The allegations against DJF are strong, as cited in previous CJCJ blogs , and after continued failure to comply with the court orders, the Prison Law Office decided to pursue a more forceful…
Exposing the Truth about Ventura's treatment of youth
The Department of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) has responded to the Prison Law Office's allegations stating that Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF) is in fact providing adequate educational and therapeutic services and proper out-of-cell time to the youth detained in their facilities.  The state agency's explanation of remedies appears to be insufficient in order to create a therapeutic and rehabilitative environment for youth in their care and custody.  This is the latest action from the…
Farrell Litigation Introductory Video
Farrell Litigation Timeline
Farrell Litigation Timeline
Flawed programming for DJF youth needing sexual behavior treatment
The most recent evidence of California's Division of Juvenile Facilities' (DJF) continued failure is documented in a report highlighting the State's inability to provide sufficient programming to youth in need of sexual behavior treatment (SBTP).  Audits of the three facilities with SBTP programs occurred September 2010 through February 2011.  As a result, SBTP expert, Barbara Schwartz, found serious deficiencies in core aspects of the program, despite improvement in many compliance items…
Goodbye Preston
In 1894, the Preston School of Industry opened its doors and begun a 119-year legacy of maltreatment.  Located in Ione, Amador County, this archaic institution was built based on a 19th Century model of congregate reform schools.  It soon developed a reputation for appalling physical conditions and extreme brutality by staff members.  By 1895, allegations arose of ill-treatment, malnourishment and overworking of youth.  In the early-1900's, several newspapers reported foul and degrading…
"Dehumanizing" treatment of wards at DJF facilities continues
After eight years of ongoing attempts to bring California's Department of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) up to constitutional requirements, the "DJJ continues to deprive youth of fundamental rights guaranteed them by State law and this Court's orders."  The most recent document from the Farrell Litigation emphasizes that there are no longer viable excuses as to why these reforms have still not occurred.   The Prison Law Office is set to hold the defendant [Matthew Cate, CDCR Secretary] in contempt…
DJF Review: Six years later...
The Sixteenth Special Master Report, filed November 22, 2010, summarized the past and present status of DJF's progress to implement Farrell reforms.   Since 2004, when DJF signed the consent decree, it has made progress toward improving the previously atrocious care of its juvenile wards.  For example, it no longer administers out-of-date undocumented medicine to its wards and it no longer uses cages to provide education, therapy, or exercise.  The Special Master identifies several obstacles…
The Importance of an IBTM
DJF has begun to implement some cognitive-behavioral evidence-based treatment programs in their facilities.  These model programs include Aggression Replacement Training (ART) and CounterPoint.  Both programs are designed in a similar format with the goal of skill acquisition: first the facilitators teach and model relevant skills, then the youths role-play these skills, and eventually the youths are required to practice the skills in their natural setting.  The aim is that youths internalize…
Meaningful treatment cannot happen behind razor wire.
On September 14, 2010, CJCJ staff visited the O.H. Close and N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facilities operated by CDCR's Division of Juvenile Facilities.  Our party of six was accompanied through the facilities by over fifteen DJF staff members comprising all levels of DJF personnel.  This presented us with a unique opportunity to examine DJF's progress in providing rehabilitative treatment and care at various levels of the institutional system.  We are deeply grateful for the opportunity…
DJF Mental Health Experts Resign
On August 2, 2010, the court in the Farrell litigation concluded that Dr. Eric Trupin and Dr. Terry Lee have resigned from their positions as Mental Health experts in the case.   This is compelling news for followers of DJF reform efforts. Almost seven years ago, Dr. Eric Trupin conducted the original investigation of DJF's mental health care, noting "In general we have grave concerns relative to the competence of the psychiatric staff, historical lack of leadership... and the lack of any…
Ventura: Overcrowded and Understaffed
Current information available on the DJF creates concern in regard to the level of rehabilitative care provided in Ventura Youth Correctional Facility.  In the Fifteenth Special Master Report, filed July 13, 2010, experts identified that DJF is experiencing several obstacles to reform resulting from the State's fiscal crisis, including a hiring freeze, lay-off plans, and travel bans.  Moreover, the closure of the Heman G. Stark facility in February of this year required DJF to swiftly transfer…
DJF promotes 85% compliance, but let's not forget the past...
Recently, the Department of Juvenile Facilities (formerly known as the California Youth Authority) claimed to be in 85% compliance with the consent decree under the Farrell litigation.  This percentage cultivates a skewed perception of the state youth correctional facility's progress towards reforming into a rehabilitative environment.  In April 2010, CJCJ's Executive Director Daniel Macallair highlighted this issue in the California Progress Report .  As DJF touts its progress it is important…
Wasting Tax Dollars: Public Relations and the California Youth Corrections System

Wasting Tax Dollars: Public Relations and the California Youth Corrections System California Progress Report, April 1, 2010

Third Special Master Report Filed in Farrell v. Hickman: Implementation of Remedial Plans Only Just Beginning
Third Special Master Report Filed in Farrell v. Hickman: Implementation of Remedial Plans Only Just Beginning
Farrell Special Master Report Compliance Tables

A court-appointed Special Master monitors DJF’s compliance with the Farrell consent decree and through the issuance of periodic progress reports. This is a summary of the reports. 

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