Juvenile Justice Reform: Realigning Responsibilities

Report #192, July 2008
Juvenile Justice Reform: Realigning Responsibilities

Full Report

Executive Summary

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2008

For Additional Information Contact:
Stuart Drown, Executive Director
(916) 445-2125

Commission Calls on State to Eliminate its Juvenile Justice Operations by 2011

The Little Hoover Commission on Monday urged the governor and the Legislature to lay the groundwork for the creation of county-run, state-funded, regional rehabilitative facilities for high-risk, high-need juvenile offenders and for the eventual elimination of state juvenile justice operations.

In its report, Juvenile Justice Reform: Realigning Responsibilities, the Commission recommends streamlining and consolidating the state’s juvenile justice operations into an Office of Juvenile Justice. The new office should be outside the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and would combine the activities of the chief deputy secretary of juvenile justice as well as juvenile justice grants administration and oversight now done by the Corrections Standards Authority.

The Commission found that the state is spending half a billion dollars annually on a youth offender population that has declined from 10,000 in state facilities a decade ago to fewer than 2,000 today. In the 2008-09 fiscal year, this will equate to approximately $252,000 a youth per year. This startling figure reflects the overhead expenses of a system built to serve a far larger population, the cost of reforms required under a court-supervised consent decree and the complex needs of these seriously troubled youth.

The significant reduction in the youth offender population has been fueled by declining arrest rates for juveniles and by policy changes – most recently SB 81 – the 2007 realignment legislation that shifted responsibility for all but the most serious and violent offenders from the state to the counties. The landmark legislation also provided ongoing funding to counties for this group of youth offenders.

The Commission reviewed the progress of the realignment and found that overall, the realignment has shown signs of promise, though there are opportunities for improvement. Specifically, the Commission found that the state lacked the leadership structure to ensure the new funding is spent wisely to expand and enhance programs that have proven effective in improving public safety and helping youth offenders turn their lives around.

In assessing the management of the small but serious youth offender population that will remain in state facilities, the Commission found that California’s longbeleaguered juvenile justice system is beginning to show signs of improvement. Still, advocates for youth offenders, frustrated by the pace of reform, have asked a court to place the system in receivership.

The Commission found that progress toward reform has been impeded by the 2005 reorganization which placed the California Youth Authority under the organizational structure of adult corrections. The Commission concluded that the price of reform, both in terms of replacing or refurbishing the crumbling state facilities and providing the programs and services required to satisfy the consent decree, is simply too steep.

“The Commission commends the professionalism and the commitment of the chief deputy secretary of juvenile justice and the staff working to implement these necessary, but very difficult juvenile justice reforms,” Little Hoover Commission Chairman Daniel Hancock said. “But the prospect of ever-higher outlays for an ever-smaller juvenile population in state custody should prompt policy-makers to extend realignment to completion.”

In Juvenile Justice Reform: Realigning Responsibilities, the Commission’s recommendations include:

  • Consolidate juvenile justice programs and services into a streamlined Governor’s Office of Juvenile Justice outside the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. An Office of Juvenile Justice, reporting directly to the governor’s office, should develop a strategy for a comprehensive, statewide juvenile justice system that includes a complete and consistent continuum of evidence-based services for youth and to oversee county programs funded by the state General Fund.
     
  • Create one dedicated funding stream for local juvenile justice programs and services. To ensure the success of juvenile justice realignment, the governor and Legislature must bolster the accountability and oversight of the state’s three major juvenile offender grant programs – the Youthful Offender Block Grant, the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act funding and the Juvenile Probation and Camps Funding Program – by creating one stable funding stream that is tied to performance-based outcomes.
     
  • Extend the sunset of the State Commission on Juvenile Justice. The State Commission on Juvenile Justice should be extended until 2010 to assist counties in implementing the recommendations in its Juvenile Justice Operational Master Plan and to provide oversight of the realignment process. Additionally, this body should serve in an advisory capacity to the Governor’s Office of Juvenile Justice.
     
  • Eliminate state juvenile justice operations by 2011. The Governor’s Office of Juvenile Justice should be responsible for guiding, facilitating and overseeing the development of new regional rehabilitative facilities or the conversion of existing state juvenile facilities into regional rehabilitative facilities for high-risk, high-need offenders to be leased to and run by the counties. Through the Office of Juvenile Justice, the state should continue to provide guidance and oversight of the regional juvenile facilities and administer dedicated funding to counties to manage the regional juvenile offender programs and services tied to performance-based outcomes.
     

The Little Hoover Commission is a bipartisan and independent state agency charged with recommending ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs. The Commission’s recommendations are sent to the governor and the Legislature. To obtain a copy of the report, Juvenile Justice Reform: Realigning Responsibilities, contact the Commission or visit its Web site: www.lhc.ca.gov.

Fact Sheet

Study Description

For this study, the Commission reviewed California’s juvenile justice system. Enacted realignment legislation shifts responsibility for nearly all juvenile offenders from the state to the counties. The Commission had the opportunity to provide input and guidance as the process of the realignment unfolded. 

The focus of the Commission’s review was on the opportunities and challenges for the state and counties in implementing realignment and what was required to accomplish it effectively. The Commission examined the two main elements of the new policy: the shift in responsibility from the state to the counties for the majority of juvenile offenders and how it was accomplished; and, the role and remaining responsibilities of the state, specifically the Division of Juvenile Facilities, for the most serious and violent juvenile offenders and some sex offenders. 

In this review, the Commission continued the oversight process it began following the 2005 reorganization that merged the California Youth Authority into the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. In January 2005, the Commission reviewed the Governor’s plan to reorganize California’s correctional agencies and create the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. In recommending that the Legislature allow the reorganization to go into effect, the Commission committed itself to monitor the progress of the new department in key areas, one of which was juvenile justice reform. The Commission held meetings to monitor the progress during the past two years and expanded its oversight with this review. 


Previous Studies 

Agenda

Overview

In this report, the Commission calls on the state to lay the groundwork for the creation of county-run, state-funded, regional rehabilitative facilities for high-risk, high-need juvenile offenders and for the eventual elimination of state juvenile justice operations by 2011.

During its review, the Commission found that the state has made strides to meet reforms agreed to as part of a court consent decree, but lacks appropriate programs and services for youth offenders. Nearly two out of three youth offenders return to state custody upon release. State facilities, long neglected, are crumbling and new construction costs required to meet the requirements of the consent decree are unspeakably high. Buried within the adult correctional bureaucracy, the required juvenile justice reforms are not prioritized. Yet the state spends a startling $252,000 per offender per year to house a youth population, one-fifth the size of what it had been a decade ago. The Commission found that the realignment was a step in the right direction, although the state should do more to provide leadership and ensure the funding provided through the realignment was actually spent on proven programs and services for youth offenders.

The Commission recommends consolidating juvenile justice programs and services into a streamlined Governor’s Office of Juvenile Justice outside the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The Commission also recommends creating one dedicated funding stream for local juvenile justice programs and services, extending the sunset of the State Commission on Juvenile Justice until 2010, and eliminating state juvenile justice operations by 2011.

Print 
			Agenda
  • February 28
    2008
    Juvenile Justice
    9:00 a.m., State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
    Public Hearing
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Public Hearing on Juvenile Justice 
    Thursday, February 28, 2008, at 9:00 a.m.
    State Capitol, Room 437 
    Sacramento, CA


    Opening Remarks

    Evidence-Based Options to Reduce Crime and Costs 

    1. Steve Aos, Assistant Director, Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Written Testimony)
       

    Juvenile Justice Data Project and Performance Measures 

    1. Karen Hennigan, Director, Center for Research on Crime and Social Control, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California (Written Testimony)
       

    View from the Bench 

    1. Kenneth G. Peterson, Presiding Juvenile Court Judge, Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento (Written Testimony)
       

    Prosecutorial Perspective 

    1. Rick Lewkowitz, Supervising Deputy District Attorney, Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, Juvenile Division (Written Testimony)


    Going Forward - Realignment Implementation 

    1. David Steinhart, Director, Juvenile Justice Program, Commonweal, and Member, State Commission on Juvenile Justice (Written Testimony)
      ​​​​​​​

    County Perspective 

    1. Penelope Clarke, Administrator, Countywide Services Agency, County of Sacramento, and Tri-Chair, State Commission on Juvenile Justice (Written Testimony)
      ​​​​​​​

    Comments Submitted by Members of the Public

    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    February 14, 2008

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Stuart Drown, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, February 28, 2008, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on juvenile justice in California. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

    This is the second of two planned hearings as part of the Commission’s review of the realignment of California’s juvenile justice system and the opportunities and challenges it will bring. The Commission is examining two main elements of the new policy: the shift in responsibility from the state to the counties for the majority of juvenile offenders; and, the role and responsibilities of the state for the most serious and violent juvenile offenders and some sex offenders. Additionally, these hearings provide an opportunity for the Commission to return to the oversight role that it committed to following its 2005 review of the reorganization plan creating the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

    At this hearing, a national expert will discuss evidence-based corrections practices for juvenile offenders, and the lead researcher of the Juvenile Justice Data Project will share recommendations on how California can improve outcomes of juvenile justice programs through better data collection and analysis. Representatives of key local officials, including judges, district attorneys and county officials, also will provide their perspectives on the realignment. Two members of the newly reconstituted State Commission on Juvenile Justice also will provide testimony.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. The Commission also encourages written comments.

    All public notices for meetings are on the Commission’s Web site, www.lhc.ca.gov. If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Stuart Drown at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, February 21, 2008. The California Channel plans to Webcast the hearing live on their Web site, www.calchannel.com.

  • November 15
    2007
    Juvenile Justice
    9:00 a.m., State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
    Public Hearing
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Public Hearing on Juvenile Justice 
    Thursday, November 15, 2007, at 9:00 a.m. 
    State Capitol, Room 437 
    Sacramento, CA


    Opening Remarks

    Realignment - Historical Perspective, Concerns and Opportunities 

    1. Dan Macallair, Executive Director, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (Written Testimony)
       

    Panel - Realignment Issues and Opportunities and Legal Matters 

    1. Sue Burrell, Staff Attorney, Youth Law Center (Written Testimony)
    • Attachment 1: Juvenile Justice Data Project Summary Report
    • Attachment 2: Farrell v. Tilton Plaintiff's Amended Case Management Conference Statement
    • Attachment 3: National Juvenile Detention Association Position Statement
       
    1. Don Specter, Executive Director, Prison Law Office


    Panel – Realignment Implementation – Chief Probation Officer Perspectives

    1. Kim Barrett, Chief Probation Officer, San Luis Obispo County and President, Chief Probation Officers of California (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Donald H. Blevins, Chief Probation Officer, County of Alameda (Written Testimony)
       
    3. Verne Speirs, Chief Probation Officer, Sacramento County (Written Testimony)
      ​​​​​​​

    Role of the State – Division of Juvenile Facilities

    1. Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Co-chair, State Commission on Juvenile Justice (Written Testimony)
      ​​​​​​​

    Role of the State – Corrections Standards Authority

    1. C. Scott Harris, Executive Director, Corrections Standards Authority (Written Testimony)
      ​​​​​​​

    Public Comments

    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    November 1, 2007

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Stuart Drown, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, November 15, 2007, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on juvenile justice in California. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

    This is the first of two planned hearings as part of the Commission’s review of the realignment of California’s juvenile justice system and the opportunities and challenges it will bring. The Commission is examining two main elements of the new policy: the shift in responsibility from the state to the counties for the majority of juvenile offenders; and, the role and responsibilities of the state for the most serious and violent juvenile offenders and some sex offenders. Additionally, these hearings provide an opportunity for the Commission to return to the oversight role that it committed to following its 2005 review of the reorganization plan creating the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

    At this hearing, youth advocates will discuss major events that led up to the realignment as well as the challenges and opportunities that this shift presents. A panel of chief probation officers will provide their perspectives on implementation. The chief deputy secretary of juvenile justice from the CDCR and the executive director of the Corrections Standards Authority will discuss the roles of those organizations in the realignment. A complete agenda is on the reverse.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. The Commission also encourages written comments.

    All public notices for meetings are on the Commission’s Web site, www.lhc.ca.gov. If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Stuart Drown at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, November 8, 2007. The California Channel plans to Webcast the hearing live on their Web site, www.calchannel.com.

Print 
		Agenda
  • February 28
    2008
    Juvenile Justice
    9:00 a.m., State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
    Public Hearing
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Public Hearing on Juvenile Justice 
    Thursday, February 28, 2008, at 9:00 a.m.
    State Capitol, Room 437 
    Sacramento, CA


    Opening Remarks

    Evidence-Based Options to Reduce Crime and Costs 

    1. Steve Aos, Assistant Director, Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Written Testimony)
       

    Juvenile Justice Data Project and Performance Measures 

    1. Karen Hennigan, Director, Center for Research on Crime and Social Control, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California (Written Testimony)
       

    View from the Bench 

    1. Kenneth G. Peterson, Presiding Juvenile Court Judge, Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento (Written Testimony)
       

    Prosecutorial Perspective 

    1. Rick Lewkowitz, Supervising Deputy District Attorney, Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, Juvenile Division (Written Testimony)


    Going Forward - Realignment Implementation 

    1. David Steinhart, Director, Juvenile Justice Program, Commonweal, and Member, State Commission on Juvenile Justice (Written Testimony)
      ​​​​​​​

    County Perspective 

    1. Penelope Clarke, Administrator, Countywide Services Agency, County of Sacramento, and Tri-Chair, State Commission on Juvenile Justice (Written Testimony)
      ​​​​​​​

    Comments Submitted by Members of the Public

    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    February 14, 2008

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Stuart Drown, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, February 28, 2008, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on juvenile justice in California. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

    This is the second of two planned hearings as part of the Commission’s review of the realignment of California’s juvenile justice system and the opportunities and challenges it will bring. The Commission is examining two main elements of the new policy: the shift in responsibility from the state to the counties for the majority of juvenile offenders; and, the role and responsibilities of the state for the most serious and violent juvenile offenders and some sex offenders. Additionally, these hearings provide an opportunity for the Commission to return to the oversight role that it committed to following its 2005 review of the reorganization plan creating the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

    At this hearing, a national expert will discuss evidence-based corrections practices for juvenile offenders, and the lead researcher of the Juvenile Justice Data Project will share recommendations on how California can improve outcomes of juvenile justice programs through better data collection and analysis. Representatives of key local officials, including judges, district attorneys and county officials, also will provide their perspectives on the realignment. Two members of the newly reconstituted State Commission on Juvenile Justice also will provide testimony.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. The Commission also encourages written comments.

    All public notices for meetings are on the Commission’s Web site, www.lhc.ca.gov. If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Stuart Drown at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, February 21, 2008. The California Channel plans to Webcast the hearing live on their Web site, www.calchannel.com.

  • November 15
    2007
    Juvenile Justice
    9:00 a.m., State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
    Public Hearing
    Agenda

    AGENDA

    Public Hearing on Juvenile Justice 
    Thursday, November 15, 2007, at 9:00 a.m. 
    State Capitol, Room 437 
    Sacramento, CA


    Opening Remarks

    Realignment - Historical Perspective, Concerns and Opportunities 

    1. Dan Macallair, Executive Director, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (Written Testimony)
       

    Panel - Realignment Issues and Opportunities and Legal Matters 

    1. Sue Burrell, Staff Attorney, Youth Law Center (Written Testimony)
    • Attachment 1: Juvenile Justice Data Project Summary Report
    • Attachment 2: Farrell v. Tilton Plaintiff's Amended Case Management Conference Statement
    • Attachment 3: National Juvenile Detention Association Position Statement
       
    1. Don Specter, Executive Director, Prison Law Office


    Panel – Realignment Implementation – Chief Probation Officer Perspectives

    1. Kim Barrett, Chief Probation Officer, San Luis Obispo County and President, Chief Probation Officers of California (Written Testimony)
       
    2. Donald H. Blevins, Chief Probation Officer, County of Alameda (Written Testimony)
       
    3. Verne Speirs, Chief Probation Officer, Sacramento County (Written Testimony)
      ​​​​​​​

    Role of the State – Division of Juvenile Facilities

    1. Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Co-chair, State Commission on Juvenile Justice (Written Testimony)
      ​​​​​​​

    Role of the State – Corrections Standards Authority

    1. C. Scott Harris, Executive Director, Corrections Standards Authority (Written Testimony)
      ​​​​​​​

    Public Comments

    Public Notice

    PUBLIC NOTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    November 1, 2007

    For Additional Information Contact:
    Stuart Drown, Executive Director
    (916) 445-2125

    Notice of Meeting

    On Thursday, November 15, 2007, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing on juvenile justice in California. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

    This is the first of two planned hearings as part of the Commission’s review of the realignment of California’s juvenile justice system and the opportunities and challenges it will bring. The Commission is examining two main elements of the new policy: the shift in responsibility from the state to the counties for the majority of juvenile offenders; and, the role and responsibilities of the state for the most serious and violent juvenile offenders and some sex offenders. Additionally, these hearings provide an opportunity for the Commission to return to the oversight role that it committed to following its 2005 review of the reorganization plan creating the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

    At this hearing, youth advocates will discuss major events that led up to the realignment as well as the challenges and opportunities that this shift presents. A panel of chief probation officers will provide their perspectives on implementation. The chief deputy secretary of juvenile justice from the CDCR and the executive director of the Corrections Standards Authority will discuss the roles of those organizations in the realignment. A complete agenda is on the reverse.

    There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. The Commission also encourages written comments.

    All public notices for meetings are on the Commission’s Web site, www.lhc.ca.gov. If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Stuart Drown at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, November 8, 2007. The California Channel plans to Webcast the hearing live on their Web site, www.calchannel.com.