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Juvenile justice facilities in California are outdated and must be transformed.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 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offers a historic opportunity to rethink Los Angeles County’s approach to juvenile justice and reverse decades of outdated practices that have led poor outcomes in the nation’s largest juvenile justice system.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: