$234,000 per year for juvenile lockup

The item below came across my desk today in an email from from Books Not Bars (booksnotbars.org). It’s part of an effort to promote AB 999, which would encourage a shift toward rehabilitation and away from some types of punitive measures (particularly “time adds’).¬† One part that stands out is the figure for the cost of incarcerating a youth for a year: $234,000. Compare to $2000 on average for a restorative intervention provided through our agency–with a 96% non-recidivism rate:

California locks up young people longer than any other state — on average youth spend about 3 years in the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). More than a year of this time is tacked on by prison staff, who use “time adds” to extend parole hearing dates for disciplinary and other reasons. This “all stick, no carrot” approach flies in the face of research that shows that positive incentives are much more effective at helping kids improve than are negative, punitive actions. And, because DJJ spends $234,000 a year to lock up each youth, it’s not only unfair and ineffective, it’s incredibly expensive.

AB 999 is, I think, an example of a trend to be encouraged: not just tough on crime, but smart on crime.


One Response

  1. Amos, As logical as your comments are sadly our culture sticks with the inaccurate view that consequences are the answer, Education is likelt rhe long term answer.

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