Budget cuts could send young criminals to adult prison

Gov. Jerry Brown‘s call to close youth prisons would save money and aid reform in county facilities, but it could also end up sending more juvenile criminals to adult prisons, according to a story by California Watch.

The proposal promises to shift responsibility for the worst juvenile offenders from the state to the county, close decaying facilities, and offer the trouble youth a better environment.

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“The counties have much better practices,” Jakada Imani, executive director of the Ella Baker Center, told California Watch. “There is a shorter chain of accountability at a local level. We’ve been pushing for this for years. It is an idea whose time has time.”

But a downside also looms.

“It is a difficult population, in terms of violence and serious sex offenses,” said Barry Krisberg of the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice. “It is my view that the counties are not equipped to adequately provide for these youth. One consequence is we will push more of them into the (adult) prison system.”

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