Juvenile Justice Reform: Realigning Responsibilities

Published On: July 1, 2008


Realizing the state could not afford to comply with the Farrell consent decree, in 2007, policy-makers acted to reduce the number of youth offenders housed in state facilities by enacting realignment legislation which shifted responsibility to the counties for all but the most serious youth offenders. This major step had long been recommended by youth advocates and experts, and by this Commission in 1994 and 2005, as many counties had demonstrated they were more effective and efficient in managing and rehabilitating youth offenders. As part of the realignment, the state made the historic commitment to provide counties with the money to pay for the programs and services for the shifted population. The Commission took the opportunity to evaluate the realignment as it unfolded with the goal of making recommendations on areas in which the state could improve. This study focused on two key areas of California’s juvenile justice system:
-Implementation of the realignment and what it will take to be successful and efficient.
-Effective management of the small number of youth offenders who, under the realignment legislation, will remain at the state level.

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