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Young and Locked Up in Silicon Valley

By Jessica Pishko

The Santa Clara County district attorney has made a habit of charging 14‑,15- and 16-year-olds as adults. Why? 

San Francisco Magazine tells the story of CJCJ’s Sentencing Services Program (SSP) client, Christian Cotero, and how politics lead this 14-year-old boy from an abusive home to be prosecuted as an adult. 

The article also highlights recent CJCJ reports studying the prosecution of youth as adults — a practice known as direct file.” The first report, The Prosecution of Youth as Adults: A county-level analysis of prosecutorial direct file in California and its disparate impact on youth of color, found that counties in California use direct file at levels inconsistent with youth crime. The second report, Justice by Geography: Do Politics Influence the Prosecution of Youth as Adults?, found that this county disparity may be in part due to party politics. 

According to a June 2016 report by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Los Angeles County has seven times the number of juvenile violent felony arrests as Santa Clara, but its direct files account for only 0.7 percent of the ensuing prosecutions; Alameda County’s figure is 3 percent. Santa Clara’s is a gaudy 9.5 percent.”

Read the full article here »