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California counties face time crunch after juvenile justice realignment from state (NACo)


By Rachal Looker, October 12, 2020, National Association of Counties.

A realignment of juvenile justice services in California is giving counties an added responsibility on a short timeline.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill at the end of September to close the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and youth prisons, shifting the responsibility of all justice-involved youth to counties.

The bill aims to keep youths closer to their families to lower recidivism rates and create an easier transition into the community. This issue has been on the table for months with Newsom announcing last May that he would work to remove the DJJ from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The transfer will now take place on July 1, 2021.

Counties will receive a Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant to provide county-based custody, care and supervision of youth who are realigned from DJJ. According to Gauger, this includes $225,000 per youth. However, he said the way the bill proposes to allocate this funding is concerning.

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