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Governor Newsom proposes changes to youth prison oversight

Bars of an open prison cell
Bars of an open prison cell
Neil Conway/Flickr Creative Commons

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Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed Tuesday to change the way California's juvenile prisons are overseen, eventually closing facilities to cut what he called the "ludicrous" cost.

The Democratic governor is asking state lawmakers to put youth prisons under California's Health and Human Services Agency. Youthful offenders currently are overseen by the same agency that runs adult prisons.

The current system isn't working, he said, with about three out of four young offenders arrested again within three years of their release. More than half are convicted of new crimes and more than a third are soon back in state custody, according to 2017 figures.

With files from the Associated Press

We have reached out to the California Health & Human Services Agency and California Division of Juvenile Justice. They did not get back to us in time for this interview.


Patricia Soung, director of Youth Justice Policy and Staff Attorney at the Children's Defense Fund, California; a non-profit that advocates for children’s rights

Kate Chatfield, policy director for Re:store Justice, a non profit that advocates for criminal justice reform in CA; she is also an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law

Stephanie James, president, Chief Probation Officers of California; Chief Probation Officer for San Joaquin County