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Fact Sheet: California’s Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Reports High Recidivism Despite Surging Costs

SAN FRANCISCO – April, 18, 2017– CJCJ’s new fact sheet finds that the costs of confining youth in California’s state youth correctional system, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), are expected to climb to $271,318 per youth. According to the data, DJJ’s per capita costs have increased each year since FY 2011-12. Despite rising spending per youth, the most recent DJJ recidivism report reveals persistently high rates of re-arrest, reconviction, and returns to state custody, suggesting deficiencies in DJJ’s rehabilitative programming.

DJJ cost per youth, actual (FY 2008 – 09 — FY 2015 – 16), and expected (FY 2016 – 17)

The fact sheet findings include:

  • Confining youth in California’s state correctional facilities will cost an estimated $271,318 per youth in FY 2016 – 17.
  • DJJ’s cost per youth has increased annually since FY 2011-12. For the last three fiscal years, the state has spent approximately a quarter of a million dollars annually for each youth at DJJ.
  • Counties only reimburse the state for a small share of DJJ costs (an estimated 9 percent) for youth who are adjudicated in juvenile court. The remaining costs, and full costs for youth prosecuted as adults, are transferred to taxpayers.
  • The most recent three-year recidivism rates for youth released from DJJ are high and reported inconsistently. In early 2017, DJJ released a report showing 74.2 percent of youth were re-arrested, 53.8 percent were reconvicted of new offenses, and 37.3 percent had returned to state custody within three years of release from DJJ.

Read the full fact sheet »

Contact: For more information about this report or to schedule an interview with the author, please contact the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice at cjcjmedia@​cjcj.​org or (415) 6215661121.