California officials have opted to shut down the state’s problematic youth prisons, which have been known to become frequently violent, after 80 years of being created in an effort to separate young criminals from adults.
Authorities have previously attempted to reform the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and has been the subject of decades of state court oversight that lasted until 2016. The failed attempts resulted in officials being forced to close down the division, which will prioritize rehabilitation and detention close to home over incarceration in state prisons.
In July, the three remaining DJJ prisons will stop accepting new criminals, with a few exceptions. Officials scheduled the closure of the facilities by July 2023, two of which are located in Stockton, while the other is in Ventura. California State Governor Gavin Newsom passed the law last year, which brought about the shut down of the prisons.
The decision also comes two decades after Proposition 21 was passed, which transferred many young prisoners to adult prisons. Many residents have long argued against the state’s judicial system on juveniles and called the pending closure “a transformational event,” KTLA reported.