Youth Prison Model Sets High Bar

California Passes Law to Move More Adult Inmates to Counties, as It Did With Juveniles
Wall Street Journal, Oct. 12, 2009

After recent changes to California’s juvenile-prison system brought down recidivism rates and the number of incarcerated youths, and also saved millions of dollars, the state is now aiming to treat its adult prisoners more like youthful offenders.

Overall, the recidivism rate for juvenile offenders in California communities that track such statistics has fallen to 25% from nearly 35% since 2007, according to the Chief Probation Officers of California, an industry association. California’s juvenile crime rate also declined between 2007 and 2008, with violent offenses committed by juveniles falling 3% in that period, the state Department of Justice reported.

“There’s plenty to learn from how we improved the juvenile system,” said state Sen. Gloria Romero, a Democrat who as a former chairwoman of the corrections-oversight committee supported overhauling the juvenile-prison system.

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