Expands capacity by 60 beds as county houses, treats more juvenile offenders
SACRAMENTO — Officials of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) joined Stanislaus County officials in a ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday for the first local facility in California to house juvenile offenders who previously would have been in state custody.
Stanislaus County was awarded more than $16 million of the $22.7 million total construction costs for the 60-bed, medium-security facility from the Local Youthful Offender Rehabilitation Facility Construction Program of 2007 (Senate Bill 81). The legislation was part of a major policy change that made counties, rather than the state Division of Juvenile Justice, responsible for housing and rehabilitating all but the most serious juvenile offenders.
“Research shows that most juvenile offenders are more successful in their rehabilitation when they remain in their local communities where they have more contact with their families and local social services,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “Over the last five years, we have shifted responsibility for most juvenile offenders to the counties. Construction of this facility, and others that will follow, ensures that counties have the space they need to address the problems of these youth in a safe and secure environment.”
The Stanislaus County Juvenile Justice Commitment Facility, which took 10 years to plan and design, will add to the county’s existing 158 beds and will provide separate housing for those juveniles who are serving longer sentences because of the severity of their crimes.
As a result of changing policy and financial incentives for counties, the number of juvenile offenders housed by the state Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), formerly known as the California Youth Authority, has been dramatically reduced from a peak of 10,000 in 1996 to approximately 1,100. In addition to providing funding for county juvenile detention facilities, SB 81 also more narrowly defined the crimes for which a youth is committed to DJJ, limiting those commitments to youth adjudicated for sex offenses or serious and violent felonies as defined by the Penal Code.
That realignment of responsibility between the state and counties over the last 15 years, similar to the policy realignment recently enacted for adult inmates, has resulted in less than 2 percent of all juvenile offenders remaining in state custody and treatment programs.
For more information, including a schedule of awards to local jurisdictions for future construction projects, visit the Corrections Standard Authority’s website at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/CSA/CFC/Docs/SB81_Project_Status_Update.pdf