Bill to close youth prisons passes committee
SACRAMENTO – A bill that calls for closing down the state’s youth prisons, including Stockton’s N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility, has passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee in a first big hurdle.
The bill would place youthful offenders at therapeutic facilities in their home counties near relatives. If finally adopted into law, the state’s Division of Juvenile Justice would stop accepting new wards by 2008 and abolish the youth prison system by 2009.
The proposed bill comes in response to harsh criticism in recent years that the state fails to rehabilitate wards despite massive reform efforts. It costs $216,000 this year to house one ward, money that would go to the counties under the bill.
Rep. Sally Lieber, D-San Jose, sponsored the bill pushed by the Oakland-based human rights organization Books Not Bars.
For more on this story by staff writer Scott Smith, pick up Thursday’s Record.