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In this issue:

CJCJ co-sponsors juvenile justice reform legislation

CJCJ is partnering with other advocates to pass California Senate Bills 190 and 439.

This year, CJCJ is co-sponsoring two bills in the California State Legislature: Senate Bill (SB) 190 and Senate Bill (SB) 439. These bills will decrease the negative consequences of justice-involvement on California’s youth. Plus, they will enable families and communities to better support young people. 

SB 190 will eliminate juvenile administrative fees charged to families of justice-involved youth. In many counties, families are charged fees associated with legal representation, detention, or probation. The costs quickly add up to thousands of dollars, further penalizing vulnerable families and restricting resources that could otherwise be used for rehabilitative purposes, such as education.

SB 439 will establish that 12 is the minimum age of juvenile delinquency court jurisdiction. Currently, California has no minimum age, meaning that children of any age can be prosecuted in the juvenile system. Data indicate that children under 12 are referred to the juvenile justice system for relatively minor offenses, such as curfew violations, petty theft and schoolyard fights. The needs of children who come into contact with the justice system are better served in the context of family and community. 

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Youth clients take a deserved break from their demanding lives

CJCJ’s Youth Justice Mentoring Program went on a spring break outing for clients to enjoy go karts, bumper boats, and arcade games. 

On March 27th, CJCJ’s Youth Justice Mentoring Program (YJM) staff, mentors, and youth clients visited the amusement park, Boomers. These outings, like the annual YJM trips to Great America or Camp Mather in Yosemite National Park, are all about giving young people a chance bond with case managers and mentors while simply enjoying themselves.

Boomers was a much needed trip for our youth. They work hard at school and deal with a lot of pressure turning in assignments and completing class projects. Some are even preparing to graduate,” says YJM Mentoring Coordinator Chris Tasi. Trips to places like Boomers are important because it allows youth to relax, have fun, and be refreshed for when spring break is over.” 

YJM serves youth ages 11 – 19 who are detained in San Francisco Juvenile Hall or at-risk of further justice involvement. The program provides young people with mentors who can relate to youth personally and offer gender-responsive and culturally competent services. Mentors are often university students and use the YJM curriculum to help youth gain new life skills, achieve goals, and gain insight about their life situations.

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Learn more about the Youth Justice Mentoring Program (YJM) »

A promising start for California’s county juvenile facility reform

This year, California will revise the minimum conditions of confinement standards for county juvenile halls, camps, and ranches. 

On March 9th, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) advanced the process of revising California’s Title 15 and 24 regulations — the minimum standards that dictate daily life and disciplinary practices for roughly 124 county youth lock-ups.

A 12-member subcommittee of experts, juvenile justice advocates, and probation officers, had a discussion about the critical issues facing youth in California’s county juvenile facilities. The discussion focused on how detention can be reduced, and ways to best meet a young person’s needs during and after confinement. 

The subcommittee reviewed suggestions for reform from the public and justice-involved youth, including a youth survey created by CJCJ, Children’s Defense Fund-California, The California Endowment, the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center, and the Youth Justice Coalition. The subcommittee also established eight topic-specific work groups that will recommend changes to the regulations after considering public feedback and best practices. A diverse group of over 60 people, including formerly incarcerated individuals, applied to serve on these committees. 

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The importance of youth involvement in juvenile justice reform »