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Juvenile justice systems have relied too heavily on incarceration and locked facilities. These interventions are expensive, harmful and counterproductive for the vast majority of youth. We must stop warehousing youth in the juvenile justice system and instead redirect resources to implement rehabilitative programming and systems.
In Los Angeles County, approximately 1,200 youth are incarcerated in the county’s three juvenile halls and 14 probation camps. The LA County Probation Department’s budget has continued to go largely toward maintaining locked facilities, while there is a dearth of resources for community-based solutions. The research is clear that youth are better served in their community in alternatives to incarceration. California needs to stop wasteful spending and shift resources to community-based interventions that have been shown to work, including community-based alternatives to incarceration, restorative justice, diversion programs, positive youth development, and strong reentry programs.
CDF-CA is working with key organizations, bringing youth, families, and communities to the table of decision-making and directing juvenile camps to strengthen their re-entry programming and advocating for the County to invest in day reporting centers, stronger diversion programs, and reducing the number of young people who are sent to camps and that do not need to be there.