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California Must Reform Its Gang Sentencing Laws

Sentencing enhancements intended to deter gang activity are overly punitive, conflict with the juvenile justice system’s mission, and have a disproportionate impact on young people of color.

District Attorneys and criminal justice reform: A necessary partnership

NCCD President Alex Busansky facilitated a conversation, between San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, on recent justice reforms in their respective jurisdictions.  The topic is of particular relevance to reform-minded criminal justice professionals, given the transformational role prosecutors can play.

Prosecutorial consistency in process
One of the biggest challenges researchers face when analyzing the effectiveness of the justice system is visibility into the world of the District Attorney. While prosecutors are given broad discretionary power, there are very few requirements regarding tracking how they use it and to what end. However, in December 2012 the Vera Institute published the results of its two-year research project, Anatomy of Discretion , shedding light on this topic. Supported by the National Institute of Justice…
A Prosecutor's Innovative Response to Realignment
Over one year into Realignment, local justice stakeholders across the state remain challenged by the responsibility of serving an increased number of offenders.  Some jurisdictions approach this new era as an opportunity for innovation and creativity, whereas others view it as the state skirting its responsibility.  San Francisco, in keeping with its history of self-reliance, approached Realignment as a chance to implement community-based practices that support rehabilitation while achieving…
CJCJ's Kate McCracken appointed to SF Sentencing Commission
The San Francisco Sentencing Commission is a newly created advisory body charged with encouraging the development of criminal sentencing strategies that reduce recidivism, prioritize public safety and victim protection, emphasize fairness, employ evidence-based practices, and efficiently utilize San Francisco's criminal justice resources.  The Commission will be chaired by the District Attorney's Office, and will be advisory to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors. On April 24, 2012, CJCJ's…
Addendum to "Charging Youth as Adults in California" released
CJCJ has released an addendum to its February 2012 report entitled, Charging Youths as Adults in California: A county by county analysis of prosecutorial direct file practices . The purpose of the addendum is to highlight recently discovered limitations with the current state methods for collecting data on direct filing and to urge District Attorneys to proactively ensure that accurate data is submitted to the state's official database. Please find the addendum here:…
Few Monterey County minors tried as adults
Few Monterey County minors tried as adults Monterey Herald, August 26, 2011
Selena Teji on the 58 cooks in California's juvenile justice kitchen

Selena Teji on the 58 cooks in California's juvenile justice kitchen Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, August 24, 2011

CJCJ publication finds direct filing does not reduce juvenile crime
The latest publication in CJCJ's Juvenile Justice Realignment Series analyses direct adult criminal court filings across California's 58 counties since the passage of Proposition 21 (2000). Direct filing allows prosecutors to unilaterally transfer youth to adult court, thereby circumventing juvenile court jurisdiction.* Read the full report at $1What_has_been_the_effect_of_Prop_21.pdf$4 Find out what others are saying about it in our attached press release, including statements by Assembly…
Another troubling juvenile court case

Statements by prosecutors following the January 16 ruling by a San Francisco Juvenile Court judge that four "Potrero Hill gang members" committed first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, and gang-related crimes in the 2007 shooting death of a 17-year-old woman and wounding of another teen outside a community center raise troubling questions about juvenile justice.   According to prosecutors and the judge's ruling, one of the youths, now an adult, used a gun to murder…

Myths and facts about "direct file," minorities, and adult-court sentencing
In criminal justice debate and policy, it is important to keep up with often startling realities--and California's contain plenty of surprises. Consider three statements often made about adult-court prosecutions of juveniles: 1. The number of juveniles tried in adult court is increasing. False. Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) reports show the number and percentage of juvenile inmates in state facilities sentenced by adult criminal courts (as opposed to juvenile courts) has plummeted ,…
The Florida Experiment: An Analysis of the Practice of Sending Kids to Adult Court
The Florida Experiment: An Analysis of the Practice of Sending Kids to Adult Court

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California Sentencing
Institute (CASI)

Explore how California’s 58 counties send their residents to correctional institutions with interactive maps, charts, and downloadable data.

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