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Juvenile Justice Reprieve: California's 2012 Mid-Year Budget

NCJ Number
Brian Goldstein
Date Published
May 2012
12 pages
This publication explores the January 2012 budget triggers of California Governor Brown's tax initiative.
Results indicate that Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) is unnecessary and no longer justified in the current fiscal climate. The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) recommends phased realignment towards a 21st century juvenile justice system. Staggered juvenile justice realignment improves county-level capacity and builds on successes around the State. This approach addresses the needs of California's diverse counties. Moreover, it appreciates the considerable fiscal sacrifice made to maintain DJF, which burdens taxpayers and those who provide necessary government services. Governor Brown's revised budget for the month of May can initiate this process, by providing policy changes that reevaluate the cost of juvenile confinement. A phased approach to juvenile justice realignment is a fiscally sound measure that facilitates much-needed reform without compromising the dignity of California's vulnerable citizens. The Governor's January 2012 budget triggers significantly reduced funding for a cross-section of necessary State services. This directly impacted California's students, working families, developmentally disabled, and vulnerable populations. Governor Brown also initially included a budget readjustment to California's DJF for $67.7 million. The adjustment would have increased county costs for youth sent to DJF. State and county law enforcement groups opposed to juvenile justice realignment, likewise lobbied against the State collecting on proposed DJF triggers. Given this opposition, Governor Brown relented and issued a reprieve on the proposed DJF budget triggers. As such, the May revised budget includes additional cuts across other necessary State services to remedy the budget shortfall, not including possible future cuts to those same services should the Governor's November tax initiative fail.