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California

Contact Information

The Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC)'s mission is to change lives and create safe, healthy communities by providing a support and advocacy network for, and comprised of, formerly incarcerated men and women. ARC seeks to accomplish this mission by advocating for fair and just policies in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, and providing services, support and opportunities to those in and coming home from the system. ARC's policy advocacy aims to reduce crime, decrease the use of incarceration, improve the outcomes of the formerly incarcerated, and increase investment in the people and communities most impacted by crime and incarceration.

Primary Contact Name: Bikila Ochoa
Position: Policy Director
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Phone: 213-955-5885 
Website: http://www.antirecidivism.org/
Twitter: @AntiRecidivism
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ANTIRECIDIVISMCOALITION

The Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN) is an interdisciplinary collaborative that provides exceptional arts programming in order to build resiliency and wellness, eliminate recidivism, and transform the juvenile justice system.

Primary Contact Name: Kaile Schilling 
Position: 
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Phone: 310-962-6000
Website: http://aiynetwork.org/
Twitter: @AIYNetwork

The California Alliance for Youth and Community Justice (CAYCJ) works to drastically
reduce incarceration and improve outcomes for system-involved youth in California.
 
Primary Contact Name: David Muhammad 
Position: Director
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Phone: 510-746-6111 
Website: www.caycj.org
Twitter: @CAYCJ12 

Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities.

Primary Contact Name: Elizabeth Calvin
Position: Senior Advocate, Children's Rights Division
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Phone: 310-477-5540
Website: www.hrw.org
Twitter: @HWRSoCal

The Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) is working to build a movement to challenge race, gender and class inequality in Los Angeles County’s, California’s and the nation’s juvenile injustice systems. We are working to dismantle policies and institutions that have ensured the massive criminalization, lock-up, and deportation of people of color, widespread police violence and distrust between police and communities, violation of youth and communities’ Constitutional and Human rights, and the build-up of the world’s largest prison system. We use coalition building, direct action organizing, public policy advocacy and activist arts to mobilize youth and their allies to reduce America’s addiction to incarceration, increase community-based alternatives, decrease police suppression tactics (including “broken windows” and the “wars” on gangs and drugs), end the school-to-jail track, and to improve conditions of confinement including working
to end Life Without Parole and other extreme sentencing of youth. The YJC is one of the nation’s few organizing projects led by system-involved youth, liberated lifers, and our families.

Primary Contact Name: Kim McGill
Position: 
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Phone: 323-235-4243
Website: www.youth4justice.org
Twitter: @YouthJusticeLA


Legislation

Bill Number: AB 1812

Type of Reform

Detention Reform - Diverted specified transition-aged youth from adult prison to a juvenile facility to provide developmentally appropriate rehabilitative programming designed for transition-age youth with the goal of improving outcomes and reducing recidivism. The bill required the department to develop program placement criteria and to initially target youth sentenced by a superior court who committed a specified crime when under 18 years of age. The bill required the division to contract with various entities to evaluate the effects of participation in the program, among other things.

Year: 2018

Bill Number: SB 1391

Type of Reform

Transfer Reform - Raised the floor (minimum age) of transfer to adult court from 14 to 16.

Year: 2018

Bill Number: AB 1308

Type of Reform

Sentencing Reform - Made a person who was convicted of a controlling offense that was committed before the person had attained 18 years of age and for which a life sentence without the possibility of parole has been imposed eligible for release on parole by the board during his or her 25th year of incarceration at a youth offender parole hearing.

Year: 2017

Bill Number: Proposition 57

Type of Reform

Transfer Reform - Ended prosecutorial direct file and statutory exclusion.

Year: 2016

Bill Number: SB 382

Type of Reform

Transfer Reform - Clarified that a judge may consider a number of factors aside from the seriousness of the offense when determining whether a youth should be transferred to the adult court. Specifically, the bill added language from the Roper, Graham, and Miller Supreme Court cases on the importance and impact of youth on a young person’s behavior and ability to be rehabilitated.

Year: 2015

Bill Number: SB 260

Type of Reform

Sentencing Reform - Allowed for Board of Parole Hearings to conduct a youth offender parole hearing to consider the release of offenders who committed specified crimes prior to being 18 years of age and who were sentenced to state prison.

Year: 2013

Bill Number: SB 9

Type of Reform

Sentencing Reform - Allowed for most offenders under the age of 18 at the time of their offense, and sentenced to juvenile life without parole (JLWOP), to petition the court to hold a new sentencing hearing after serving fifteen years of the original sentence.

Year: 2009


Reports

Juvenile InJustice: Charging Youth as Adults is Ineffective, Biased and Harmful (February 2017)

In all 50 states, youth under age 18 can be tried in adult criminal court through various types of juvenile transfer laws. In California, youth as young as 14 can be tried as adults at the discretion of a juvenile court judge. When young people are transferred out of the juvenile system, they are more likely to be convicted and typically receive harsher sentences than youth who remain in juvenile court charged with similar crimes. This practice undermines the purpose of the juvenile court system, pursues punishment rather than rehabilitation, and conflicts with what we know from developmental science. Furthermore, laws that allow youth to be tried as adults reflect and reinforce the racial inequities that characterize the justice system in the United States. This report reviews the process that unfolds when a young person is tried as an adult in California and evaluate the health and equity impacts of charging youth as adults.

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The Prosecution of Youth as Adults: A County-Level Analysis of Prosecutorial Direct File in California and its Disparate Impact on Youth of Color

This report analyzes the use of direct file by district attorneys across California's 58 counties. It presents county rates of the direct file compared to the youth population and rates of youth arrest and highlights racial and ethnic disparities. 

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Treat Kids as Kids: Why Youth Should Be Kept in the Juvenile System (2014)

Treat Kids as Kids: Why Youth Should Be Kept in the Juvenile System (2014) by the California Alliance for Youth and Community Justice traces California’s development of harshly punitive policies toward youth crime, highlighting ways the adult justice system puts young people at risk, and recommends policy changes that would bring the state closer to eliminating youth involvement in the adult criminal justice system.

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Tracked and trapped: Youth of color, Gang databases and gang injunctions (December 2012)

From facing constant stops to breaking up families, this report describes the negative impacts gang injunctions have on youth and communities. Tracked and Trapped represents the preliminary results from a larger research project conducted by the Youth Justice Coalition’s REALSEARCH Action Research Center on the impacts of gang injunctions and gang databases on Los Angeles youth and communities. In the 25 years since the LA County Sheriffs established the nation's first gang database, and 30 years since LA County implemented the nation's first gang injunctions, there has been almost no release of data regarding gang suppression policies, including who's impacted, let alone an evaluation of their cost or effectiveness.

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Charging youths as adults in California: A county by county analysis of prosecutorial direct file practices (August 2012)

This report, written by Mike Males and Selena Teji, examines county by county prosecutorial direct file practices between 2003 and 2010 to determine whether Proposition 21 (2000) has resulted in more commitments of youths to state institutional facilities than would have occurred otherwise. In light of these historic trends, the report also reflects on the potential effect that the Governor’s proposed closure of the state’s Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) would have on prosecutorial direct file practices in California. The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) finds that at least two-thirds of direct files do not result in state DJF or adult prison terms. Prosecutorial direct file has not proven an effective means of securing state prison sentences for youthful offenders compared to previously existing mechanisms, such as judicial transfer after juvenile court fitness hearings. While CJCJ was unable to determine the exact numbers of direct file cases that resulted in transfer from DJF to state prison at age 18, the number appears small and has declined sharply over the last three years. In addition, frequent usage of the direct file appears to have no effect on crime compared to infrequent usage.  

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Welcome Home LA (April 2012)

Welcome Home LA documents the essential policies, resources, and opportunities needed to ensure that people coming home from juvenile halls, jails and prisons can succeed. Many of the recommendations address the very real discrimination and isolation formerly incarcerated people face and offers new insight on issues of re-entry form those of us who have made the painful transition from cage to the community. 

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Getting Paid: The bills collected by the Los Angeles County Department of Probation put youth at risk and impoverish families (February 2009)

This report exposes the impact on families when state and local governments bill them for thousands of dollars for the time their child is detained or incarcerated. Experiences and solutions are posed by low income and working-class families who have had their tax refunds confiscated, wages garnished, and homes threatened by a huge multi-million-dollar bureaucracy – the L.A. County Department of Probation – that has been under federal investigation for abuse, neglect and miseducation of the youth in its care.

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