The California Alliance for Youth and Community Justice (CAYCJ), is a statewide alliance of organizations and individuals with the mission to drastically reduce incarceration and improve outcomes for system-involved youth in California.
Bill Number: Proposition 57 - WIN!
Type of Reform
Transfer Reform - Ends direct file.
Bill Number: SB 9 - WIN!
Type of Reform
Sentencing Reform - allows for most offenders under the age of 18 at the time of their offense, and sentenced to juvenile life without parole (JLWOP), to petition the court to hold a new sentencing hearing after serving fifteen years of the original sentence.
Bill Number: SB 260 - WIN!
Type of Reform
Sentencing Reform - allows for Board of Parole Hearings to conduct a youth offender parole hearing to consider release of offenders who committed specified crimes prior to being 18 years of age and who were sentenced to state prison
Bill Number: SB 382 - WIN!
Type of Reform
Transfer Reform - allows judges to consider more information (based on Miller) when granting a transfer waiver.
Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act Ballot Proposition
Type of Reform
Sentencing reform - returns most juveniles under 18 to juvenile court
Year: Introduced in 2016
If you want to take action in California and support the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act Ballot Proposition, click here.
Juvenile InJustice: Charging Youth as Adults is Ineffective, Biased and Harmful
In all 50 states, youth under age 18 can be tried in adult criminal court through various types of juvenile transfer laws. In California, youth as young as 14 can be tried as adults at the discretion of a juvenile court judge. When young people are transferred out of the juvenile system, they are more likely to be convicted and typically receive harsher sentences than youth who remain in juvenile court charged with similar crimes.This practice undermines the purpose of the juvenile court system, pursues punishment rather than rehabilitation, and conflicts with what we know from developmental science. Furthermore, laws that allow youth to be tried as adults reflect and reinforce the racial inequities that characterize the justice system in United States. This report reviews the process that unfolds when a young person is tried as an adult in California and evaluate the health and equity impacts of charging youth as adults.
NJJN: A Moral Obligation to Meet the Promise of Fairness and Justice for Our Children
The American juvenile justice system was founded over a century ago on the basic (and correct) premise that children are different from adults and that dealing with crimes committed by them requires a different set of tools. Yet it seems that over time, the system has morphed into something never intended: one that actually punishes children more harshly than it would adults in similar situations – consider for example the fact that 95 percent of youth tried in adult courts have committed nonviolent offenses.
The Prosecution of Youth as Adults: A County Level Analysis of Prosecutorial Direct File in California and its Disparate Impact on Youth of Color
This report analyzes the use of direct file by district attorneys across California's 58 counties. It presents county rates of direct file compared to the youth population and rates of youth arrest, and highlights racial and ethnic disparities.
Unfettered Discretion, Negative Outcomes, and No Oversight: California’s Need for Data Collection on Juveniles Prosecuted as Adults
The article Unfettered discretion, negative outcomes, and no oversight: California’s need for data collection on juveniles prosecuted as adults (2015) highlights the negative outcomes of prosecuting youths as adults, especially of the practice of direct file.
Treat Kids as Kids: Why Youth Should Be Kept in the Juvenile System
Treat Kids as Kids: Why Youth Should Be Kept in the Juvenile System (2014) by the California Alliance for Youth and Community Justice traces California’s development of harshly punitive policies toward youth crime, highlighting ways the adult justice system puts young people at risk, and recommends policy changes that would bring the state closer to eliminating youth involvement in the adult criminal justice system.
Getting Paid: The bills collected by the Los Angeles County Department of Probation put youth at risk and impoverish families
This report (2012) exposes the impact on families when state and local governments bill them for thousands of dollars for the time their child is detained or incarcerated. Experiences and solutions are posed by low income and working class families who have had their tax refunds confiscated, wages garnished, and homes threatened by a huge multi-million-dollar bureaucracy – the L.A. County Department of Probation – that has been under federal investigation for abuse, neglect and miseducation of the youth in its care.
Welcome Home LA
Welcome Home LA (2012) documents the essential policies, resources and opportunities needed to ensure that people coming home from juvenile halls, jails and prisons can succeed. Many of the recommendations address the very real discrimination and isolation formerly incarcerated people face and offers new insight on issues of re-entry form those of us who have made the painful transition from cage to community.
Tracked and trapped: Youth of color, Gang databases and gang injunctions
From facing constant stops to breaking up families, this report (2012) describes the negative impacts gang injunctions have on youth and communities. Tracked and Trapped represents the preliminary results from a larger research project conducted by the Youth Justice Coalition’s! REALSEARCH" Action" Research" Center on the impacts of gang injunctions and Gang databases on Los Angeles’ youth and communities. In the 25 years since the LA County Sheriffs established the nation's first gang database, and 30 years since LA County implemented the nation's first gang injunctions, there has been almost no release of data regarding gang suppression policies, including who's impacted, let alone an evaluation of their cost or effectiveness.
Charging youths as adults in California: A county by county analysis of prosecutorial direct file practices
The report Charging youths as adults in California: A county by county analysis of prosecutorial direct file practices (2012) written by Mike Males and Selena Teji, examines county by county prosecutorial direct file practices between 2003 and 2010 to determine whether Proposition 21 (2000) has resulted in more commitments of youths to state institutional facilities than would have occurred otherwise. In light of these historic trends the report also reflects on the potential effect that the Governor’s proposed closure of the state’s Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF)2 would have on prosecutorial direct file practices in California. The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) finds that at least two-thirds of direct files do not result in state DJF or adult prison terms. Prosecutorial direct file has not proven an effective means of securing state prison sentences for youthful offenders compared to previously existing mechanisms, such as judicial transfer after juvenile court fitness hearings. While CJCJ was unable to determine the exact numbers of direct file cases that resulted in transfer from DJF to state prison at age 18, the number appears small and has declined sharply over the last three years. In addition, frequent usage of direct file appears to have no effect on crime compared to infrequent usage.