Division of Juvenile Justice to Remain Open, Costing State Over $100 million in Potential Savings

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Abel Habtegeorgis (510) 910 - 2672

Prisons Spared While Higher Education and Health Services Suffer Further Cuts

(Oakland, CA) Despite ongoing failures and shocking abuse, the Governor once again backed down on his budget proposal to close California’s state youth prisons. By realigning youth in the notorious DJJ prisons to counties, California could have saved over $100 million. Instead, the Governor chose to prop up the failed youth prisons while further slashing schools, health and welfare. Under the revised proposal, California’s notorious Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) will remain open with some minor adjustments to cut minimal costs.

“It’s sad that the Governor caved once again to fear-mongering special interests instead of doing right by families, taxpayers, and public safety,’ said Jakada Imani, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. “We believe that a safe and healthy future for California demands that we reverse our priorities to start investing more in education, health and job growth, and less in incarceration.”

DJJ was spared trigger cuts that higher education, child care programs, and libraries suffered in December. Unfortunately, instead of charging counties $125,000 per youth sent to DJJ (as originally proposed), the Governor proposes charging just $24,000. The message to families is that California cannot provide affordable colleges and universities, but can still pay over $160,000 per youth in prison.

Furthermore, despite dwindling health care services aand massive teacher layoffs, the Governor added $500 million in lease revenue bonds for jail construction, in perhaps the starkest illustration of the state’s misguided priorities.


The award-winning Ella Baker Center is named for an unsung hero of the civil rights movement who inspired and guided emerging leaders. We build on her legacy by giving people opportunities and skills to work together to strengthen our communities so that all of us can thrive.