Policy Priorities

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Juvenile Justice

Rethinking Juvenile Justice in California 

Children’s Defense Fund – California is committed to reducing our state’s reliance on juvenile incarceration to address juvenile delinquency. We develop innovative research, public policy and practices that empower lawmakers and communities to resolve the crisis of poverty, violence, and hope that push youth out of school and into criminal activity, as well as expand effective community based alternatives to juvenile incarceration.

Additionally, we work closely with systems leaders to revitalize that state’s existing juvenile justice facilities so that incarcerated youth have access the rehabilitative resources necessary to develop personal, academic, and personal strength to transition back to their communities and into thriving adulthood.

What We're Doing Now

  • Camp Kilpatrick Replacement Project We're working with juvenile justice advocates and researchers to provide guidance and oversight to the Camp Kilpatrick Redesign Project to ensure that the new probation camp is informed by model approaches that emphasis youth rehabilitation. Learn more
  • Juvenile Probation Data Project We're working with researchers and experts to study how youth and their families fare before, during, and after their contact with the probation system. Learn more
  • CDF Freedom Schools in Juvenile Probation Camps We're collaborating with probation departments in Los Angeles County to bring the rich rewards of the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools programs to youth detained in juvenile justice camps. Learn more
  • Championing Progressive Juvenile Justice Legislation We champion statewide policy that stresses the importance of preventative and intervention services that deter youth from entering the system, creates alternatives to juvenile incarceration, and ensures that those detained receive human treatment and the resources they need to succeed. Learn more