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Los Angeles Times & CYS Urge County Supervisors to Fund Youth Justice Reimagined

Currently, the County of LA has a budget of over $409 million to incarcerate just 400 youth. It's time to reimagine what's possible.

Cheyenne 2019 by Redin Cubas, of blessed memory, courtesy of his family.

With $1M per youth in the budget, what are the results?

  • Two thirds of youth who are prosecuted in court, have been prosecuted previously.

  • Youth who’ve been incarcerated have increased rates of joblessness, homelessness and adult incarceration.

This is not Public Safety. CYS restorative justice diversion improves public safety: 89% of referred youth are not re-arrested. Who are those 400 or so youth that are locked up?

  • 100% are from low-income households.

  • Nearly 100% are youth of color.

  • 40% have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, needing treatment not adequately available in detention facilities.

  • 32% are currently in foster care.

  • 90% have had their caregivers investigated for child abuse/neglect at some point.

  • Of girls who are incarcerated, 50% identify as LGBTQ+.

This is not Equity. CYS's restorative justice approach ensures all youth have equal access to support and treatment, without a criminal record. For example, CYS services decreased youth arrests in Compton by 95%, replacing arrest records with effective supportive services. What about victims?

  • Victims report often not being allowed into the juvenile court hearing and often receiving little communication about their case.

  • Less than 6% of prosecuted youth complete restitution. Completion of community service is also very low.

This is not Accountability. At CYS harmed parties are invited into the process. An independent study compared CYS youth with youth on probation: CYS youth completed six times more community service and completed monetary restitution at a rate 166 times higher than court ordered restitution. A cost of over $1M per youth, yet 66% will repeat criminal behavior and only a fraction complete restitution to those who were harmed by their actions. This is not financially responsible. As a community, we can make better use of public resources. It 's time to reimagine what's possible, guided by facts. CYS is part of an extensive local reform effort, resulting in the Youth Justice Reimagined Report, which maps out a multi-pronged alternative to our current youth justice system, rooted in the research of what actually works to increase community safety and help all youth thrive and become contributing members of society. We join the LA Times in calling on the County Board of Supervisors to appropriately realign County budgeting away from carceral methods that are not leading to accountability, safety nor equity and fully fund best practices outlined in Youth Justice Reimagined. Please join us in letting your Supervisor know you care about fully funding Youth Justice Reimagined. #ReimagineYouthJustice


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