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Failed Juvenile Justice System Costs California More Than Dollars

Originally posted on Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE).

CJCJ’s Brian Goldstein pens an op-ed for Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) highlighting not only the overwhelming fiscal costs of juvenile incarceration, but the greater, long-term, social costs to youth themselves and the community at large. 

From the article:

$271,318. That’s how much California expects to spend per youth this year on its failed state youth correctional facilities, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). This amount of money could drastically improve a young person’s education, well-being and development opportunities.

To give perspective, a four-year undergraduate education at Stanford University costs approximately $276,000. Instead, the money is being squandered on DJJ’s dangerous and poorly designed facilities, which have continuously failed to improve youth outcomes. The true cost of these misdirected resources extends far beyond the state budget to the cycle of justice involvement for youth and their families.

The scandalous $271,318 per capita cost of DJJ is for an estimated 700 young people housed in three facilities. Despite the dropping population and rising cost, the system struggles with high recidivism rates as nearly 54 percent of youth are reconvicted of a new offense within three years of release. In addition, these institutions remain deeply entrenched in violence and trauma.Our failed juvenile justice systems draw their longevity and power from keeping the public unaware of their true costs.”

Read the full article »