Consensus is growing in the Capitol that California’s youth correctional facilities need to be closed, with funding and supervision responsibilities realigned to the counties.
Building on Past Policy Recommendations
In 2008 the Little Hoover Commission recommended that the state's Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) close its doors and for California to move towards a county-based juvenile system.
In early 2011, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) concluded, “Less than 1 percent of juvenile arrests result in commitment to DJF, and counties have recently taken on responsibility for DJF parolees. Thus, under the Governor’s proposal, funding and responsibility for all juvenile offenders would be maintained at one level of government."
Moving Toward the Future
Governor Brown's office and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) are calling for DJF closure and full juvenile justice realignment. Governor Brown again called for a closure of DJF in his 2012-13 budget proposal released in January. Law enforcement groups blocked his juvenile realignment efforts last year. His proposal states, "The Budget proposes to expand on previous successful efforts to reform the state’s juvenile justice system by eventually transferring the responsibility for managing all youthful offenders to local jurisdictions. The Budget proposes to stop intake of new juvenile offenders effective January1, 2013.”
CDCR Secretary Cate was quoted in an Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times article last month:
Matthew Cate, California's corrections chief, predicted Brown's plan would be a boon to public safety. "The biggest benefit is it keeps wards close to home," Cate said. "The evidence shows, especially with young people, that it eases the return to communities and reduces victimization."