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In this issue:

Declining drug enforcement after Proposition 47

A new CJCJ report finds arrests and citations for drug possession have decreased in Los Angeles and San Diego counties after Prop 47

With the passage of Prop 47 in November 2014, California voters took a significant step toward reforming over-incarceration. The law reclassified certain low-level crimes, including three drug possession offenses, from felonies to misdemeanors and reinvested state savings in direct services. 

In 2015, the first full year after Prop 47, felony drug arrests fell by over 92,000 while misdemeanor drug arrests increased by only 70,000. Taken together, these shifts produced a 10 percent decline in total drug arrests. The report seeks to understand how enforcement and prosecution of drug possession offenses changed after Prop 47 by analyzing Los Angeles and San Diego as case studies.

Drug Arrests in California, 2005 – 2015

After Prop 47, the report finds that drug possession arrests and citations in Los Angeles and San Diego decreased in 58 percent of law enforcement agencies. The data also show these declines varied by county, city, and substance. For example, while both San Diego and Los Angeles counties experienced declines in arrests and citations, Los Angles reported a decrease of 45 percent while San Diego reported 7 percent decline.

Read the full report Declining Drug Enforcement After Proposition 47” »

Advocates rally to improve California’s juvenile facilities

California is revising the minimum standards for juvenile facilities, giving advocates an opportunity to improve living conditions and services for youth

This month, the California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) began the process of revising California’s Title 15 and 24 regulations — the minimum standards that dictate daily life and disciplinary practices for the roughly 124 county lock-ups for youth. The BSCC set up an online survey to solicit reform recommendations from the public. 

In partnership with the Children’s Defense Fund-California, The California Endowment, and the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center, CJCJ produced a webinar explaining the importance of these regulations on the lives of youth, and how to get involved in the revisions process. 

Our organizations, in partnership with the Youth Justice Coalition, also created a survey to collect the necessary perspectives of justice-involved youth. About 80 people submitted responses and a majority stated that they did not have adequate access to hygiene products, healthy food, quality education, or reentry services. Respondents also highlighted problematic disciplinary practices in juvenile facilities and an inadequate grievance process.

Learn more about improving the minimum standards »

Rooms Infested With Spiders’: California Youth Urge Changes in Conditions at Juvenile Facilities »

Governor Brown’s budget proposes to build another prison

In a time of fiscal caution, Governor Brown’s budget proposal deepens California’s reliance on the incarceration of young people 

Governor Brown’s Fiscal Year 2017 – 18 budget proposal recommends that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) build a new prison called the California Leadership Academy (CLA), which would initially house 250 men ages 18 to 25. For over two years, CJCJ has closely monitored the CLA and remains vigorously opposed to expanding California’s reliance on a correctional model that has failed to keep young people safe. 

Moreover, the CLA would divert resources away from innovative, community-based alternatives to incarceration. Crime rates among youth and young adults have also fallen precipitously and are expected to continuing declining through 2020. These trends suggest that the CLA would be needlessly targeting our state’s safest generation. CJCJ recommends that the legislature halt the expansion of incarceration by eliminating this proposal from the FY 2017 – 18 budget.

Find out more about the California Leadership Academy »

See CJCJ’s full response to California’s 2017 – 18 proposed budget »