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Pacific Juvenile Defender Center

Pacific Juvenile Defender Center
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News & Announcements

  • Gov. Brown Signs Legislation to Help Foster Children in the Juvenile Justice System

    On Friday, September 26, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2607 into law.  This legislation, introduced by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, provides additional protection to foster youth who “cross over” into the juvenile justice system.  AB 2607 provides that foster children must never receive more punitive treatment than other minors in the delinquency system by being held in juvenile detention beyond the time when they should be released.  AB 2607 prohibits a county from detaining a dual-status minor in juvenile hall beyond the completion of any period of confinement imposed by the court.  If additional court hearings and team discussions are needed to discuss the minor’s long-term placement, those hearings and meetings should occur after the minor has been released from juvenile hall.

    Foster youth who enter the juvenile justice system in California are called dual-status, or “crossover” youth, because they are governed by two different parts of the juvenile court system: the dependency system for abused, abandoned and neglected minors (foster children) and the delinquency system.  Although dual-status youth make up only a small portion of juveniles in the foster care system (in California, there are approximately 3,000 foster youth in the juvenile justice system at any given time), these youth are by definition uniquely in need of support services, even among the broader population of abused or neglected children.
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  • Gov. Brown Signs PJDC-Supported Bill to Help Young Prisoners

    On September 27, 2014, Governor Brown signed into law AB 1276.  The new law will require the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to conduct committee-based, specialized review of each person under age 22 entering prison to consider placing them at a lower security level facility with increased access to educational and self-help programs.

    This legislation will dramatically change the lives of thousands of young people entering prison. Approximately 4,800 people under age 22 are admitted to California prisons each year. Under current practice, many are routinely sent to the maximum security prison units, known as “Level IV yards,” by virtue of their age alone.  That practice ignores what science and law have increasingly affirmed: this is a critical period of brain and personal development.  
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  • Gov. Jerry Brown Signs SB 1038 Into Law Authorizing Automatic Sealing of Juvenile Records

    On August 22, 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1038, which provides the automatic sealing of juvenile records in cases where the youthful offender successfully completes all court-imposed sanctions. Existing law already
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  • Governor Brown Signs SB 1296 Into Law Forbidding Incarceration For Truant Youth In California

    On June  27, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed in law  SB 1296 (Leno), outlawing incarceration as a contempt sanction for youth adjudicated as truants (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 601).  In re Michael G. (1988)
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    Public defenders, other juvenile defense counsel, and juvenile advocates are eligible for PJDC membership. Members enjoy access to PJDC’s extensive resource bank, listserv, expert corner, and amicus committee.

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  • California is one of four sites nationally invited to participate in the MacArthur Foundation's Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network, part of the Foundation's Models for Change initiative. The multi-year effort is designed to strengthen and enhance juvenile indigent defense systems around the country. California's work is centered in the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center.