Michael Minor is chief deputy secretary of the Division of Juvenile Justice at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. It’s his job to help shape the future for this department that’s potentially on the budget chopping block. KALW’s Holly Kernan spoke with Minor about what the role of the Division of Juvenile Justice.
Usually in this space, we talk a lot about what’s wrong in the criminal justice system. So in this three-part series, we’re looking outside of the Bay Area for examples of what works. On Monday, we spoke with UC-Berkeley Professor Franklin Zimring about New York City’s massive crime decline over the last two decades. And yesterday, we looked at a method police are using to predict crime before it happens. Today, we’re in Santa Cruz, examining why the county has become a national model for keeping kids of out jail.
By Nicole Jones
The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco released a report this week that shows California counties have the capacity to implement Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to eliminate the state’s youth prison system.
Brown announced his plans in January to eventually fade out the Division of Juvenile Justice system by 2014. The proposal would have counties share $10 million to develop local alternatives to housing youth in state facilities. But it’s raised some concerns from counties and law enforcement, saying they lack adequate secure juvenile placement facilities for high-risk youth offenders the DiJJ currently serves.
Almost a year after seemingly giving up on the idea, Governor Jerry Brown again announced that he’ll close the Division of Juvenile Justice, California’s youth prison system. The DJJ, known as the California Youth Authority (CYA) until a lawsuit prompted a system overhaul and inspired a corresponding name change, is slated for gradual shutdown starting this year, according to Brown’s proposed budget.
The previous year was a huge one for criminal justice in California, and 2012 promises to be just as dramatic. This year we’ll see the continued fallout of California’s prison overcrowding crisis, which coupled with the state’s financial crisis, is opening the doors to reforms never thought possible in our state. Here are three big issues to watch this coming year.
In the United States, there are about 60,500 youth in court-ordered residential programs and correctional facilities–and another 25,000 on any given day in temporary lock-up at a local juvenile hall. That’s according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that examines the country’s heavy reliance on incarceration for dealing with kids who commit crimes. Specifically, the report gives several reasons that prison-like settings are inappropriate for almost all youth offenders. These facilities, the report says, are:
If yesterday’s news is any indication, the legislature is not looking to make any big leaps towards reversing California’s tough sentencing laws any time soon. Two reform bills met their end (or at least major roadblocks) yesterday: Senator Loni Hancock’s effort to end the death penalty, and Senator Leland Yee’s ongoing attempt to allow the possibility of parole to inmates who were sentenced to life in prison as children.