The vast majority of juvenile offenders, even those who commit serious crimes, grow out of antisocial activity as they transition to adulthood.

Most juvenile offending is, in fact,

limited to adolescence.

Compared with one White girl, Latinas are 2x as likely, White boys are 4x as likely, Black girls are 7x as likely, Latino boys are 11x as likely, and Black boys are 33x as likely to be detained or incarcerated in secure county facilities [in California].

Source: Angela Irvine, The Path from School Suspensions to Incarceration in California (2016), Infographic, Impact Justice, Oakland, CA.

Under California law, a

16 year-old

can be tried as an adult and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole,

but cannot legally possess cigarettes until

Age 21

Source: Penal Code sections 190.5 and 308.

Youth Detained with Mental Health Problems

General Youth Population with Mental Health Problems

Research suggests that about two-thirds [66%] of youth in detention or correctional settings have at least one diagnosable mental health problem, compared with an estimated 9 to 22 percent in the general youth population.

Intersection between Mental Health and the Juvenile Justice System, Literature Review: A Product of the Model Programs Guide, U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, (2017), p. 1.

In a study of youth leaving Los Angeles County placements and camps, it was found that 83% have been referred to child protective services at least once for maltreatment; that 39% had a substantiated finding of child maltreatment, and that 20% had been removed from their home for child abuse or neglect. Further, 70% of the referrals had begun when the young person was less than 10 years old, and a third occurred when the child was less than 5 years old.

Jacquelyn McCroskey, Denise Herz, and Emily Putnam-Hornstein, Crossover Youth: Los Angeles County Probation Youth With Previous Referrals To Child Protective Services, Children’s Data Network (2017), p.4.

  • Latinos
  • Black
  • Asian
  • Other
  • White

In 2017, 89% of the youth committed to the California Division of Juvenile Facilities were youth of color, including 54% Latino, 32% Black, 1% Asian, and 2% “Other.”

Source: Population Overview as of December 31, 2017, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice

Nearly half (48%) of all students who enter residential juvenile justice facilities have an academic achievement level that is below the grade equivalent for their age.

Andrea J. Sedlak and Carol Bruce, Survey of Youth in Residential Placement: Youth Characteristics and Backgrounds, SYRP Report, Rockville, MD, in cooperation with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice. (2017), p. 22.

Girls in same-sex relationships are at least

8x

more likely to be arrested for statutory rape than their peers.

Source: Angela Irvine, Girls in same-sex relationships are at least 8 times more likely to be arrested for statutory rape than their male and straight peers, Infographic, Ceres Policy Research, Oakland, CA (2018).

[A] researcher surveyed youth just minutes after [their court] hearings, and most of them were confused and mistaken about what the judge had said. Overall, the youth surveyed recalled only a third of the conditions that were ordered.

Source: Washington Judicial Colloquies Project: A Guide for Improving Communication and Understanding in Juvenile Court, Teamchild and the Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network, Models for Change, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (2012), p. 9.

The California state budget projects spending

$303,160

per youth for a year of confinement in the Division of Juvenile Facilities for fiscal year 2018-19.

Source: California Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, Budget Subcommittee No. 5, Hearing on the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Mar. 22, 2018), Agenda: Issue 2 – Juvenile Justice Reform, p. 10.

Resources for
Youth, Families & Community

We believe children in the justice system must be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness. If your child is going through the court process, we provide free resources to help you understand the challenges your child faces. If your child was in the juvenile system, we have information regarding sealing and other collateral consequences of system involvement.

Resources for
Lawyers & Youth Justice Advocates

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