‘The Darkest Part of the Tunnel’

How a stack of letters from incarcerated kids spurred a decades-long fight to reform and ultimately abolish California's youth prison system.

California's youth prisons like the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility will close, leaving plans to house incarcerated youth to counties.


California Legislature and Governor Reach Agreement to Close Youth Prison System

A locked unit at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility. Photo courtesy of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice.
Over the objections of county governments and local probation agencies, the California Legislature has reached an agreement with Gov.


California Judges Concerned About Quick Pace of Governor’s Plan to Close Youth Prisons

Friday is the deadline for California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature to reach a deal on how to close the state’s youth prison system. Photo courtesy of Calamari Productions
As a Friday deadline looms to decide whether California should shut down its long-notorious youth prison system next year, some fear that without safeguards, hundreds of juvenile offenders will be sent to the adult criminal system, where they face longer sentences, more violence and poorer prospects.


California Legislature Introduces Its Plan for the Closure of State’s Youth Prisons

Illustration by Christine Ongjoco
Leaders of the California Assembly and Senate presented detailed plans this week on how the state should shut down its aging and outmoded youth prison system – a revised approach to the youngest and most serious offenders that keeps them out of adult prisons and provides increased oversight of county-run detention facilities and programs.


Leader of California’s Juvenile Justice System Steps Down

Soon after California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) proposed widespread reforms for the state’s Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), its director has stepped down. A press release issued this week by Newsom’s office said that Chuck Supple would leave his post immediately, as a result of health issues.


Report: Plan to Expand California Youth Prisons Needs Tinkering

A report by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office raised some doubts about Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to see more older youth and young adults served in the state youth prison system administered by the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).