Missouri went from 90% recidivism in its juvenile justice system to about 10% over just a few years as it transitioned into a restorative justice model that treated youth as children in need of counseling instead of adult criminals (about 30% of American youth are tried in adult courts).
California locks up young people longer than any other state — on average young people spend about 3 years in the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). More than a year of this time is tacked on by DJJ guards, who extend parole hearing dates for disciplinary and other reasons.
This flies in the face of research that shows that positive incentives are much more effective at helping kids improve than are negative, disciplinary actions. And, because DJJ spends $234,000 a year to lock up each youth, it’s not only unfair and ineffective, it’s incredibly expensive.
AB 999 would eliminate the “time adds” system, and institute a model that provides incentives for youth to prove they’re ready to return home. (Learn more here.) But the DJJ won’t change without clear direction from lawmakers — and from you! Even if you’ve already taken action to support AB 999, your elected officials still need to hear from you now that the bill is headed for a full Assembly vote. Click here to send an email now:
It was MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz who commented that 90% of the youth in juvenile justice had passed through child protection. As a long time guardian ad-Litem working with children in child protection, it hurts me greatly to see children born into almost certain lives of crime and incarceration.
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