February 9, 2022

Settlement reached with Fresno County to strengthen public's participation in juvenile justice planning

The Youth Law Center is pleased to announce a settlement agreement reached by Fresno County and the Center for Leadership, Equity, and Research (CLEAR) that will strengthen the ability of youth and families to participate in local juvenile justice planning. The settlement resolves the lawsuit filed by the Youth Law Center and Baker McKenzie on behalf of CLEAR, a Fresno-based non-profit that supports the participation of community members in local policy, in October 2021. The lawsuit alleged that two local bodies responsible for juvenile justice planning in Fresno County—the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council and the Realignment Subcommittee—were conducting their business in violation of the Brown Act, California’s open meeting laws.

Under the settlement agreement, Fresno County will be transforming its juvenile justice planning processes to be highly inclusive of the community going forward. The settlement requires compliance with the Brown Act and much more: tripling the amount of community member seats on the Realignment Subcommittee, requiring community members to be present for formal action, and instituting annual review of the county’s juvenile justice realignment plan.

YLC believes that youth and families who are directly impacted by the system must be able to meaningfully participate in any process for juvenile justice reform. We appreciate Fresno County’s efforts and encourage other counties to follow their lead.

Read the full press release here.

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