California’s high investment in incarcerating youth offenders is having no impact on recidivism rates, according to a report published by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ).
“California’s state youth correctional system, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), is among the most expensive per youth in the United States…the cost per youth for one year could reach a record high of more than $270,000,” CJCJ reported in April.
The cost of housing youth offenders has risen the past five years from $198,465 to a high of $271,318, according to CJCJ. This cost compares with an average of $75,560 per adult inmate in California..
Despite the increased per capita spending on youth offenders, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) found in a 2017 study that young people leaving DJJ maintained persistently high rates of re-arrest, reconviction and return to state custody within three years.
Recent recidivism data reveal that DJJ’s rehabilitative programming is not producing satisfactory results. Moreover, in this fiscal year, California will spend more than a quarter million dollars per youth on a system that cannot demonstrate consistent or satisfactory outcomes for the youth in its care,” CJCJ reported.