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In this issue:

California Must Support Youth at DJJ in Response to COVID-19

CJCJ outlines immediate actions that California must take to protectyouth in its state youth correctional institutions.

Dangerous open dormitory at DJJ’s O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility.

In a new blog and letter to the Governor, CJCJ’s Maureen Washburn examines the dangerous impact of COVID-19 on California’s youth correctional system, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), and outlines key steps forward. The rise of COVID-19 brings critical attention to DJJ’s failings and requires immediate action to protect young people from across California in these facilities.

DJJ has a decades-long pattern of neglect, isolation, and violence in its large correctional facilities. CJCJ’s recent investigation into facility conditions found harrowing evidence of unhealthy living conditions, high rates of violence, and lasting impacts on youth.

CJCJ recommends the following to ensure the safety of youth and staff: drastically reducing the population of DJJ by permanently ending new admissions and releasing vulnerable youth; ensuring young people can remain connected with loved ones through free modes of communication; and limiting the use of isolation in response to COVID-19.

Read California Must Safeguard Youth in State Facilities Amid COVID-19 Crisis »

CJCJ’s Cameo House Serves Families During Shelter-in-Place

Support women and children at Cameo House during these challenging times.

Cameo house participant and her daughter enjoy a meal together.

Last month, CJCJ’s Cameo House began working tirelessly to ensure the safety and well-being of its program participants amid the threat of COVID-19. Cameo House is a long-term transitional and alternative sentencing program for homeless, formerly incarcerated women and their children. This program supports a particularly vulnerable population, making the continuation of its services all the more critical during these challenging times.

As San Francisco takes serious measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Cameo House team continues to support its participants through mindful programming and additional health precautions. They risk it all everyday,” expresses CJCJ Deputy Director Dinky Manek Enty, to show up physically and emotionally for our Cameo families. When distance is what we are all instructed to maintain, this team is committed to do what it takes to provide a safe home for our families. Under the extraordinary leadership of Director Rebecca Jackson, the staff themselves are also supported – she cares about every single one of them, and provides whatever they need, from toilet roll to love.”

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today to support Cameo House families. Donations can be made to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice through Zelle, which is available through the Zelle app or your mobile banking app. Additionally, Cameo House is in great need of disinfectants, hand sanitizer, cleaning agents, antibacterial hand soap, masks, and gloves, which can be mailed to 424 Guerrero Street, San Francisco, CA 94110. Your donations will provide immediate relief to vulnerable families during this crisis.

Make a tax-deductible donation to CJCJ’s Cameo House today »

Contact CJCJ Deputy Director Dinky Manek Enty for assistance with thedonation process at dinky@​cjcj.​org.

Protecting People in California’s Jails and Juvenile Facilities

CJCJ and dozens of community organizations came together to press for COVID-19 safety precautions in local jails and juvenile facilities.

Credit: Bill Oxford | unsplash​.com

As communities across the globe respond to the threat of COVID-19, we must acknowledge that incarcerated individuals are among the most vulnerable. They face the risk of rapid spread and inadequate access to medical care. Advocates are calling for immediate action to protect those in California’s local correctional facilities.

The Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) is a powerful state agency responsible for monitoring California’s local facility conditions and ensuring compliance with minimum standards. This includes key regulations relating to visitation, phone communication, hygiene, and the use of isolation. Their duty to ensure the health and safety of incarcerated individuals is now more critical than ever.

CJCJ and our partners sent a letter to the BSCC last month where we recommend the agency immediately protect those in facilities from COVID-19. In particular, we pressed for the BSCC to do the following: inform the public about any changes to the facility regulations; develop health-focused guidelines for facilities that are based on research and best practices; guide counties to enhance mental health and medical services.

While the BSCC has since implemented some of advocates’ recommendations, including making information about regulation changes publicly available on their website, they have yet to fully address community concerns. Moving forward, we will continue to press for responses to COVID-19 that safeguard people in local facilities.

Read advocates’ recommendations for COVID-19 safety precautions »