Overview Cameo House Community Options for Youth (COY) Detention Diversion Advocacy Program (DDAP) Expert Witness, Court Navigation, & Sentencing Mitigation Services Juvenile Collaborative Reentry Unit (JCRU) No Violence Alliance (NoVA) Overview Technical Assistance California Sentencing Institute Next Generation Fellowship Legislation Transparency & Accountability

In this issue:

Rabbits and Snakes and Chickens, Oh My!

CJCJ’s Cameo House partners with the SF SPCA to support family programming. 

Cameo house families petting rabbits with the SF SFPCA.

CJCJ’s Cameo House, a transitional and alternative sentencing program, provides long-term supportive housing for justice-involved women and their children. The program offers weekly group activities, which are opportunities for program participants to support one another in their personal development. Once a month, the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has been joining these meetings to host fun animal education classes for Cameo House families.

Eliza Lara from the SF SPCA brings her own pets or one of the animals from the shelter to Cameo House. It provides an exciting opportunity for program participants and their children to bond during these group activities! So far, the families have been introduced to a wide range of animals, including dogs, bearded dragons, guinea pigs, snakes, rabbits, rats, and even chickens.

These monthly events with the SF SPCA have been both fun and educational. SF SPCA staff use the opportunity to teach Cameo House clients and their children about the different animals. Even though some of the participants were initially fearful, the SF SPCA and Cameo House staff have helped build up their confidence and comfort around these new animals. It leads to a heartwarming setting all around, and Cameo House is excited for their monthly visits to continue in the fall!

Learn more about CJCJ’s Cameo House »

Keeping Youth Closer to Home with Senate Bill 284

CJCJ co-sponsored Senate Bill 284 passes another legislative hurdle, carrying hope for youth and our communities.

Co-sponsors and supporters of SB 284 together at the state capitol.

This legislative cycle, CJCJ is excited to co-sponsor Senate Bill (SB) 284, the Keep Youth Closer to Home Act, authored by Senator Jim Beall. This Wednesday, June 26th, the bill passed through the Assembly Appropriations Committee with a 13 to 5 vote. The bill is now headed to the Assembly Floor.

CJCJ has collaborated with a strong network of community partners to successfully move this bill through the state legislature. SB 284 aims to address the issue of counties’ over-reliance on the state youth correctional system known as the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Currently, counties are unnecessarily sending youth to these remote and harmful DJJ facilities for $24,000 annually per youth. The actual annual cost to confine youth at the DJJ averages over $300,000 per youth. With county facilities currently operating at an average of just 30 percent capacity, they are fully capable of absorbing their DJJ population approximately 13 times over.

Sending youth to DJJ also exposes them to the trauma of separation from family and community supports. We know that justice-involved youth are better served in small, close to home facilities that encourage a smoother transition back into their communities.

To reduce county reliance on DJJ, SB 284 increases the incentive to keep youth closer to home by raising the cost of county commitments to DJJ from $24,000 to $125,000 per youth. With the success of this bill, California would see more of its most vulnerable youth closer to their families and critical community support systems.

Find out more about SB 284 »

Audit of a Major Juvenile Justice Grant Program Approved

The California State Auditor will soon begin a requested state audit of the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act $100M+ grant program.

CJCJ’s Renee Menart and the Youth Justice Coalition’s Diwaine Smith testify before the Joint Legislative Audit Committee in support of the JJCPA audit request.

CJCJ and a statewide coalition of community partners co-sponsored a state audit request by Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer, alongside Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and Senators Bradford and Skinner. The request, which was approved with 10 votes of support in the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) on June 26th, seeks to evaluate the spending, decision-making, and reporting of the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act (JJCPA) grant program. 

The JJCPA was established in 2000 as the Schiff-Cardenas Crime Prevention Act to support local juvenile justice prevention and intervention through annual noncompetitive grants distributed to counties. The grant program intends to reduce youth involvement in the justice system by investing in an array of effective local programs and services. The JJCPA grant program is a vital investment for the state, and a state audit will help ensure that taxpayer dollars are being responsibly spent.

For nearly twenty years, the state has spent approximately $100 million annually with little oversight or accountability. California policy-makers and community members share concerns regarding a lack of data reporting, non-collaborative decision-making, unspent funds, and county spending on harmful juvenile justice programs.

Now that the requested audit has been approved by JLAC, the California State Auditor will soon begin to investigate the management and use of JJCPA dollars to ensure the state’s massive investment effectively supports youth across California’s communities.

Find out more about JJCPA Spending in Bay Area Counties »