End the Punitive Incarceration Model

Juvenile justice facilities in California are outdated and must be transformed. Many facilities were built in the 1950s and 1960s based on an approach of concentrating large number of youth in regimented, penitentiary-like facilities far from their homes. These facilities — some which even mimic adult prisons — embody a correctional approach to juvenile justice that has been proven to be costly, inhumane and ineffective for young people. The result has been rampant abuse, scandals and lawsuits at the county and state levels, as well as high rates of recidivism. Instead of building skills for a career or for college, youth in the juvenile justice system learn how to be institutionalized.

The Camp Kilpatrick Redesign Project and the Creation of the LA Model

The Camp Kilpatrick Replacement Project, a project funded by California state realignment legislation to rebuild Camp Kilpatrick, offers a historic opportunity to rethink Los Angeles County’s approach to juvenile justice and reverse decades of outdated practices that have led poor outcomes in the nation’s largest juvenile justice system. CDF-CA has partnered with juvenile justice advocates, researchers, youth and community to provide input, research, guidance and oversight to ensure the new LA Model represents transformative change informed by best practices and community input. CDF-CA serves on the county advisory committee, leads committees rethinking programming and staffing, and facilitates community and advocacy engagement in the project, in efforts to achieve the following goals:

  • Transform facility design, programming and opportunities available to incarcerated youth at and leaving Kilpatrick, ensuring that the LA Model is integrated, effective, trauma-informed and based on best practices.
  • Improve educational attainment, health and mental health outcomes of incarcerated youth in LA so that fewer young people return to the camp system or enter the criminal justice system, and so that more youth graduate high school, secure high quality jobs, heal from past trauma, and realize their potential.
  • Ensure youth and communities most impacted by juvenile justice are driving the change.
  • Serve as a model for countywide probation camp reform in Los Angeles and across the state.

Read more about the LA Model in our new report, A Culture of Care for All: Envisioning the LA Model.