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CFYJ Applauds Gov. Jerry Brown For Continued Commitment to Juvenile Justice Reform

Posted in 2016 Press Releases

WASHINGTON (January 28, 2016) --  The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) commends California Gov. Jerry Brown for announcing a ballot initiative Wednesday that, if passed, would shift the decision on whether to try a juvenile as an adult from district attorneys to judges, a decision that has broad support from the American public. 

“We applaud Gov. Brown for joining law enforcement, faith leaders, and juvenile justice advocates to announce support for ending the direct filing of youth as young as age 14 into the adult criminal justice system.   We consider it vitally important that the decision on whether to deprive a young person access to the rehabilitative protections offered by the juvenile court is best made by a judge", said Mistrett.

California is one of only 15 states in the country that allows prosecutors, not judges, to decide whether to file a case in the adult court.  In the past decade, California has sent nearly 10,000 youth into the criminal justice system; more than 7,000 were directly filed into the adult criminal court with no review by a judge. Charging youth as adults has serious and life-long consequences for youth.  Multiple studies have shown that prosecuting youth as adults also decreases safety, as youth sent to adult court are more likely to recidivate, and with more serious crimes, than their counterparts who have access to the developmentally appropriate rehabilitative services offered in juvenile court.

"Governor Brown's leadership on this charge is an important statement to the country--passage of this ballot initiative will no doubt influence other states across the nation.  We are optimistic that the California voters will do what’s right for youth and get behind the Governor on this initiative," said Mistrett.  

The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 will also continue to reform the California criminal justice system by making nonviolent felons eligible for parole sooner, as well as allowing the prison system to give credit to prisoners for good behavior, rehabilitation and education, according to a release from the governor's office.  

Read the full text of the initiative here.

About The Campaign for Youth Justice:
The Campaign for Youth Justice, based in Washington, DC, is dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under 18 in the adult criminal justice system.