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Juvenile Justice Reform: Realigning Responsibilities

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2008
105 pages
This report of California's Little Hoover Commission evaluates the State's realignment in transferring some criminal justice system activities from the State to counties and offers recommendations in areas where the State could improve realignment activities and objectives.
The study focused on two key areas of California's juvenile justice system. One area is the implementation of the realignment and what will be required for it to be successful and efficient. A second area is the effective management of the small number of juvenile offenders who, under the realignment legislation, will remain under the State's jurisdiction. The first of the Commission's recommendations is for the governor and the legislature to consolidate programs and services into a streamlined Governor's Office of Juvenile Justice outside of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This office would develop a strategy for a comprehensive, statewide juvenile justice system that includes a complete and consistent continuum of evidence-based services for juveniles, and the office would oversee county programs funded by State General Fund allocations. Second, the Commission recommends that the governor and the legislature bolster the accountability and oversight of the Youthful Offender Block Grants by consolidating it with the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act funding and the Juvenile Probation and Camps funding program into one dedicated funding stream for local juvenile justice programs and services. This would help to ensure the success of juvenile justice realignment. Third, the Commission recommends that the governor and the legislature extend the "sunset" of the State Commission on Juvenile Justice until January 2010 and charge it with assisting counties in implementing the recommendations in its master plan and providing oversight of the realignment process. Juveniles who continue under State jurisdiction in the realignment, the Commission recommends turning all youth offender supervision over to the counties. 138 notes and appended supplementary information