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Luxurious? Juvenile System To Cost California $378 million

Get this — California taxpayers will spend $378 million next year to care for 1,500 juvenile inmates. In addition to this exorbitant cost, the money spent is more of a waste than an investment, since three out of four juvenile inmates re-offend within three years.

These considerations have prompted a state watchdog group to suggest that California dump its juvenile prisons, in a new report sent to Governor Schwarzenegger and other lawmakers.

The report recommends scrapping the statewide juvenile justice bureaucracy and replacing juvenile prisons with county-run regional centers for the most serious offenders. The less serious offenders would stay in local juvenile halls. Due to the decrepit state of juvenile prisons, if the state does not reform the system, it will have to pay a lot to replace the current, and not so successful, one.

What should society do to get young offenders back on the right track, instead of pushing them further down the wrong one?


Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
I'd like to see a better Juvenile Intake program in effect instead of this. Kids around here can hit their parents/siblings, vandalize things, run away MULTIPLE times, etc and J.I. won't do a daggone thing!! Where's the HELP that some parents need and crave - BEFORE it gets to the point that the system puts them in jail?? That said ... I still firmly believe this sort of thing needs to start AT HOME!! And waiting until a kid is 12 or older is TOO LATE! You have to start discipline at an early age. Kids are too used to getting away with anything they want to say/do until they get old enough to REALLY get in trouble ... then the parents want to start parenting ... too little, too late!
Bksuga Bksuga 9 years
i aggree coralamber, i think that we gotta remember that they are still kids that depending on the crime will be let out. So if we teach them self esteem, and properly rehabiltate them. (not just let them watch tv and pretend to do school work) they we be do better.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
I believe that the juvenile system should be modeled after programs like the Delancey Street Foundation of San Francisco. I read about it in the book Influencer. The foundation employs ex-cons to do work while simultaneously making them part of a program of accountability and residential therapy. With properly trained people running the same "business model" in local chapters I believe that they could actually rehabilitate juvenile offenders and change their thinking before they become more serious criminals.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Ask anyone who went to prison and they'll tell you they learn more about how to be a better criminal than anything else in prison. You meet other offenders, exchange notes, ideas and network. If you want to cut down on recidivism, you have to offer an alternative instead of pooling criminals with other criminals which only reinforces their belief that they belong there. :cheer: That was inappropriate.
Bksuga Bksuga 9 years
thats a lot of money for that small amount of kids first off and i think that instead of just sending them to jail, that more money should be spent on helping them with self esteem, school, and conseling. I had a friend that was in the djj and she always told me in was a day camp for teens. you just went to shcool ate and sleep. and when your time was up that was it. I think if they spent more money on conseling, mentoring them when they go home or for extreme case boot camps, it would justify that much money.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I was thinking that too, Dave! I am guessing they probably require schooling as well as the usual food and shelter. But still!
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
378 million for 1500 kids?!? That's 252,000 per kid! What are these kids getting that costs so dang much?
lovelie lovelie 9 years
I absolutely agree. Sometimes, our young offenders that come through the system shock me more than the adults. Young offenders don't always have the ability to rationalize their crimes, therefore, lack of self-control and lack of consequences motivate their crimes. Where as adults, especially those who have gone through the system, have well formed intent. The saddest part of about juvenile offenders is their perception of the it is just a game, go through it, come out and try to beat it again and again. There is no discipline or direction in which to move forward, that is why I think the military would offer the reformation that detention centers do not.
syako syako 9 years
yeah the cartoon baby behind bars is a little misleading... I agree with Jill that young people are capable of committing heinous crimes.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I am all for that plan, lovelie! I think that young offenders still need to be treated with the same caution that adults have to. Clearly this system isn't working and it needs to be changed, but I don't think that transferring the financial burden on to counties is a good idea. The income difference between LA county and some very rural counties in other parts of the state is huge. We need to save money, but we also need to make sure that violent offenders are kept off the street. Some very young people have committed very serious crimes against my family members. I don't think it is wise to underestimate the damage that someone who is young can do.
lovelie lovelie 9 years
Mandatory enlistment. Juvenile detention only pushes young criminals further into delinquency by perpetuating violent tendencies. School programs would be ideal however, lack of funding for the areas of the country that really could benefit exist. I work for the DA's office and when dealing with juvenile offenders...the county always offers to expunge juvenile records if they is the best type of reform out there.
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