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Juvenile Justice Realignment in 2012

NCJ Number
Brian Heller de Leon; Selena Teji J.D.
Date Published
January 2012
9 pages
This policy brief from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice presents recommendations for the realigning the juvenile justice plan for the California Division of Juvenile Facilities in the State's 2012-2013 budget cycle.
This analysis by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice looked at the need for reassessing the continued funding of California's Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF). A 2010 report by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation found that juveniles released from DJF have a re-arrest rate of 80 percent within 3 years of their release, demonstrating the agencies inability to successfully rehabilitate youthful offenders. This report examines the differences in costs between juveniles in State institutional care and those receiving services from county facilities. The report notes that only a small group of counties with moderate-sized juvenile offender populations rely heavily on services provided by DJF instead of developing their own local solutions. The report presents two examples of county-based alternatives to DJF services. Five policy recommendations are discussed that are intended to allow counties time to develop the local infrastructure needed to serve juvenile offenders currently served by DJF. These recommendations include 1) a multi-year juvenile justice realignment process; 2) sustained, dedicated realignment of juvenile justice funding to counties; 3) a reserve fund for counties until December 2015; 4) prioritizing system capacity building through model practices; and 5) centralized monitoring and evaluation of county juvenile justice practices. Figure, appendix, and references