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In this issue:

  • Two new reports focus on the future of youth justice in California
  • CJCJ staff tour California’s northern youth correctional facilities
  • CJCJ congratulates a youth client who is now a full-time student
Two new reports focus on the future of youth justice in California

New CJCJ studies predict further decreases in youth arrests and evaluate the prosecution of youth as adults

On October 4th, CJCJ released a publication by Senior Research Fellow Mike Males predicting that violent felony arrests of youth will fall by about 1,600 to 1,700 by 2020. The report finds a strong, predictive relationship between the violent felony arrest rates of children under 12 and those of older youth ages 12 – 17. This relationship is used to forecast arrests of 12 – 17 year olds.

Dramatic declines in the violent felony arrest rates of children under 12 predict a decline of 24 percent in the violent felony arrest rate of youth ages 12 – 17 from 2016 to 2020. A decline in the number of youth arrested annually for violent felonies will shrink the pool of youth eligible for commitment to local detention facilities and the state’s Division of Juvenile Justice.

On October 18th, CJCJ Policy Analyst, Maureen Washburn, coauthored a report in partnership with the National Center for Youth and the W. Haywood Burns Institute. The report finds that practice of direct file” — wherein prosecutors decide to file charges against youth as young as 14 years old directly in adult court — varies starkly by county and continues to disproportionately impact youth of color. 

In 2015, just six counties — Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, and Tulare — comprised more than 50 percent of the state’s direct file cases. Additionally, per capita, Latino youth were 3.4 times more likely to be direct filed than white youth in 2015, and black youth were direct filed at 10.8 times the rate of white youth. The report was released in advance of Election Day when California voters will consider the repeal of direct file through the passage of Proposition 57.

Read Violent Crime Arrests of Youth in California Expected to Decline Through 2020 » Read The Prosecution of Youth as Adults in California: A 2015 Update »

For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with the authors, please contact CJCJ Communications at cjcjmedia@​cjcj.​org.

CJCJ staff tour California’s northern youth correctional facilities

Division of Juvenile Justice staff led CJCJ on a tour of the DJJ school, mental health units and other program facilities

On September 26th, CJCJ’s Executive Director Daniel Macallair and staff visited the two of the three youth correctional facilities overseen by the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ): O.H. Close and N.A. Chaderjian in Stockton, CA. This was CJCJ’s first visit to DJJ since the dismissal of the Farrell litigation in February 2016 — a 13-year lawsuit in which the Prison Law Office sued California’s youth correctional institutions for inhumane and violent conditions. 

After the dismissal of Farrell, CJCJ published a report providing updated information on the state of DJJ titled Failure After Farrell: Violence and Inadequate Mental Health Care in California’s Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). The report found that DJJ continues to struggle with violence, gang culture, and deficient mental health treatment. Additionally, Daniel Macallair recently published After the Doors Were Locked: A History of Youth Corrections in California and the Origins of 21st Century Reform, which provides context for the failed cycles of reform over the past century. Namely, DJJ facilities are still large, aging, congregate care facilities that were not modeled on best practices for rehabilitation or safety. 

The prison-like design and operation of DJJ’s facilities force many youth into large open dormitories or separate them into single cells. The open dormitory format has been shown to be particularly unsafe. Moreover, the penal environment and violence associated with large facilities cannot provide a therapeutic setting to treat the over 90 percent of youth in juvenile facilities who have experienced trauma.

Purchase After the Doors Were Locked »

Read Failure After Farrell: Violence and Inadequate Mental Health Care in California’s Division of Juvenile Justice »

CJCJ congratulates a youth client who is now a full-time student

A youth client has successfully completed CJCJ’s Placement Diversion and Reentry Program and is looking forward to nurturing his interests and intellect

CJCJ extends its congratulations and well wishes to a youth client who recently graduated from the Placement Diversion and Reentry Program (PDRP). The 18-year-old is currently studying at San Francisco City College full time and is busy expanding his knowledge base and deciding which major to pursue. 

This young man grew up in San Francisco’s Mission District and struggled with negative peer influences and gangs. After being involved in the juvenile justice system for almost four years, he came to CJCJ about 6 months ago. His PDRP Clinical Case Manager, Karen Sarria, helped him make a plan to ease the transition home after spending some time in a group home. 

Sarria is very optimistic about her client’s future. I want to congratulate him for doing something he never thought possible, like going to college and choosing to live a more positive life that will lead him to his goal,” she says. I encourage him to continue following his dream of graduating and wish him nothing but success and happiness with this new and free life. I’m so proud of him!”

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Learn more about the Placement Diversion and Reentry Program (PDRP) »