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Counties' Modern Secure Facilities Have Enough Institutional Capacity for Juvenile Justice Realignment

NCJ Number
Selena Teji, J.D.
Date Published
February 2012
7 pages
This report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice evaluates the availability and capacity of county-based secure juvenile justice facilities in California in the event of the State's elimination of the Division of Juvenile Facilities.
Major findings from the evaluation of California's county-based secure juvenile justice facilities include the following: between 1996 and 2007, the statewide county juvenile institutional population declined from a high of 20,122 in 1996 to 13,421 in 2007, and the State institutional population declined from almost 10,000 in 1996 to less than 1,100 in 2011; at the same time, 41 California counties spent almost $438 million renovating or constructing new maximum security juvenile halls; and recent data indicate that county juvenile facilities have an institutional capacity surplus of 4,090 beds. This report evaluates the availability and capacity of California's counties to use their secure and more modern juvenile justice facilities to house juvenile offenders in the event that the State eliminates its Division of Juvenile Facilities. The findings indicate that local facilities surpass State facilities in terms of capacity, architectural design, and structural integrity. Several counties have constructed or renovated facilities that can be used to house both short-term and long-term offenders, generally at a cost per capita much lower than the State's costs. The evaluation notes that additional funding will be needed to sustain and enhance services provided to juvenile offenders. 1 table and 10 references