Defunding CA Departments of Juvenile Justice

What is this letter about?

Over the weekend, we learned that Governor Newsom has revised his plan for Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) realignment in ways that will profoundly undermine our vision of transforming CA’s juvenile justice system and do nothing to promote the health and well-being of CA’s youth.

Initially, the Governor agreed to a bifurcated budget process that included a modest amount of funding for the counties and a few immediately needed policy decisions in the June budget, but deferred most decisions for summer. The Governor now plans to immediately allocate more than $200 million of unrestricted funds for county probation departments in the June budget, while continuing to fund DJJ this year, and defer the development of other needed fiscal and policy matters until the summer. Essentially, the Governor is prepared to put off the protection of youth facing transfer, move ahead with realignment without input from many experts and community stakeholders, and appropriate a massive amount of state funds to counties and probation departments for the care of youth.

How does it align with yli’s values?

Black, Brown, and Indigenous young people bear the brunt of our state’s most harmful justice system decisions.  The inequities that exist in California’s youth justice system today are the result of a system that from its inception treated youth of color differently.

yli youth in Marin and Fresno have worked directly on the issue of juvenile detention, successfully advocating to pass key local and statewide policies to reduce or eliminate juvenile fees. Marin’s Social Host Ordinance established a restorative justice process for youth as an alternative to incarceration, and Fresno’s Boys & Men of Color launched a campaign to ensure that SB 190 – a California law that repeals a slew of fees like registration, drug testing, legal representation, housing, ankle monitors, among other – was enforced in Fresno County.

What is yli doing about it?

We have just signed a letter of opposition, crafted by:

  • Pacific Juvenile Defender Center
  • Human Rights Watch
  • National Center for Youth Law
  • Children’s Defense Fund-CA
  • Haywood Burns Institute
  • Commonweal

And, we are voicing our opposition on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Who else has endorsed this letter?

  • Alliance for Boys & Men of Color

Download the Draft Letter Here