Will Ultimately Save State an Estimated $44 Million a Year
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today announced that it will close one of two facilities for juvenile offenders in Southern California by early next year.
The Southern Youth Reception Center and Clinic in Norwalk (Los Angeles County) is scheduled to close by January 2012 to reduce costs and improve the fiscal efficiency of the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).
“In these tight fiscal times, we must take every step possible to operate in a cost-effective manner and make every tax dollar count,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate, who noted that the closure is possible because the youthful offender population is expected to remain steady or decline in the coming years.
Opened in 1954, the Southern Youth Correctional Reception Center and Clinic currently houses 209 male juveniles. DJJ staff will take all necessary steps to ensure youths are transitioned appropriately to other DJJ facilities in Camarillo, Ventura County, and Stockton, San Joaquin County. Living units will be added at the Camarillo facility.
The closure is estimated to reduce overall costs by $17 million by mid-2012 and $44 million in the following fiscal year. Recent staffing reductions and DJJ’s reduced responsibility for supervising youth on parole are expected to save an additional $14.2 million in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The Norwalk facility will be the third DJJ facility closed in the past 24 months. DJJ will continue the cost effectiveness of operating two facilities in Northern California. The O.H.Close and N.A. Chaderjian youth correctional facilties are side-by-side in one complex and managed by one administrative team.
In recent years, DJJ has seen a declining number of youthful offenders committed to state facilities. At its peak in 1996, the DJJ population was approximately 10,000 youth committed for a wide range of offenses. Financial incentives to counties, based on the belief that most juvenile offenders benefit from being housed closer to their families and communities, increased the number of offenders housed locally. Subsequently, legislation (Senate Bill 81) adopted in 2007 reserved DJJ’s population to only those youths committed for the most serious and violent crimes. As a result of these changes, DJJ’s current population is about 1,200, or less than 1 percent of all youthful offender arrests in California each year. That population is not projected to increase significantly.
Also, beginning in January 2011, county probation departments gradually began to assume responsibility for supervising youth released to parole, a move that is expected to further reduce DJJ’s population over the next three years.
DJJ also will retain youths who have exceptional treatment needs that county programs often cannot address. California also retains jurisdiction of youthful offenders to the age of 25, rather than 18 or 21.
Below is a list of DJJ facilities closed in recent years and those that will remain operating after the closure of the Southern Youth Reception Center and Clinic.
Karl Holton Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Center, Stockton
Northern Youth Correctional Reception Center and Clinic, Sacramento
Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility, Whittier
El Paso de Robles, Paso Robles
Dewitt Nelson Youth Correctional Facility, Stockton
Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility, Chino
June 2011 (scheduled):
Preston Youth Correctional Facility, Ione
January 2012 (projected):
Southern Youth Correctional Reception Center and Clinic, Nowalk
Remaining DJJ facilities:
N.A.Chadjerian Youth Correctional Facility, Stockton
O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility, Stockton
Ventura Youth Correctional Facility, Camarillo
DJJ-operated conservation camps:
Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp, Pine Grove (Amador County)
S. Carraway Public Service and Fire Center, Camarillo (Ventura County)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bill Sessa