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Gov. Brown, The State’s Analyst, & Youth Advocates Argue Over Raising The Age Limit For State Juvie Lock-Ups

Originally posted in WitnessLA.

WitnessLA references and quotes the blog post, 2018 – 19 Budget Proposal Would Expand California’s Youth Correctional System at a Time of Falling Populations by CJCJ’s Policy Analyst Maureen Washburn.

From the article:

Propping up a failing system?

Back in January, the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice slammed Brown’s budget proposal, saying it would prop up the failing system and extend its harms to a new population of young people.” What the state should do, according to CJCJ, is invest in community alternatives that keep kids out of state facilities, rather than expanding DJJ.

By raising the age of jurisdiction, Governor Brown would reverse a decision made in the 2012 – 13 budget cycle to lower the maximum age of youth confined in the facilities,” CJCJ policy analyst Maureen Washburn wrote. In the years following this reform, the average length of stay at DJJ declined modestly, suggesting that a reversal of the reform could lengthen the period youth spend at the facilities, including those committed by juvenile courts.”

According to CJCJ’s Washburn, extending the age of jurisdiction may unintentionally result in judges sending more kids to adult court. When the age of jurisdiction was lowered in fiscal year 2012 – 13, the percentage of judicial transfer hearings that resulted in adult court prosecution declined,” Washburn said. In the three years preceding the reform (20092011), an average of 75 percent of hearings resulted in a transfer to adult court, compared to 62 percent in the three years following (20132015).”

This week, Wasburn published a fact sheet that looks at the state’s rising juvenile incarceration costs.

According to the fact sheet, Brown’s budget has grown for the last three years, while the number of kids locked up in state detention facilities has dropped consistently for the last six years. Currently, the state lockups are sitting two-thirds empty.

There were an average of 624 youth in state juvenile facilities on any given day in January.

And the cost of spending per locked up youth is expected to hit an all-time high of $317,771 by the end of the current fiscal year — more than $65,000 higher than the state’s previous budget estimates for the year. The jump can be traced back to the fact that the state locked up fewer kids this year than initially expected, according to the CJCJ fact sheet.

Read the full article on WitnessLA »Read the full 201819 Budget Proposal…” Blog »

Related Links:

Costs Rise Amid Falling Populations at California’s Division of Juvenile Justice

By the Numbers: Why California Needs More Drug Treatment, Not Youth Prisons

AB 109, Prop 47, and Prop 57 Are Safely Reducing the Prison Population, but Durable Public Safety Requires Further Cuts in Corrections Spending