The Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), originally known as the California Youth Authority (CYA), was created by statute in 1941 and began operating in 1943, providing training and parole supervision for juvenile and young adult offenders.
In a reorganization of the California corrections agencies in 2005, the CYA became the DJJ within the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, whose Secretary reports directly to the Governor and serves on his cabinet. As part of the state's juvenile justice system, the DJJ works closely with law enforcement, the courts, district attorneys, public defenders, probation, and a broad spectrum of public and private agencies concerned with, and involved in, the problems of youth.
Currently, the DJJ receives its youthful offender population from both juvenile and superior court referrals. Those youths are sent to the DJJ to receive various training and treatment services. The Juvenile Parole Board, an administrative body separate from DJJ, determines a youth's parole readiness.
The DJJ's mission, as described in Section 1700 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is to protect the public from criminal activity. The law mandates the division to:
- Provide a range of training and treatment services for youthful offenders committed by courts
- Direct youthful offenders to participate in community and victim restoration
- Assist local justice agencies with efforts to control crime and delinquency
- Encourage the development of state and local programs to prevent crime and delinquency
Youths committed directly to the DJJ do not receive determinate sentences. A youth's length of stay is determined by the severity of the committing offense and their progress toward parole readiness; however, the DJJ is authorized to house youths until age 21 or 25, depending upon their commitment offense.
A youths readiness for return to the community is determined by the Juvenile Parole Board. It recommends supervision conditions to county courts which administer them. In the community newly released youth are supervised by county probation departments.
The DJJ also provides housing for youths under the age of 18 who have been sentenced to state prison. Youths sentenced to state prison may remain at DJJ until age 18, or if the youth can complete his or her sentence prior to age 21, the DJJ may house him or her until released to parole.
DJJ Executive Office
1600 K Street, 3rd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Voice: (916) 322-5591 FAX (916) 322-5686
Division of Juvenile Justice
P.O. Box 588501
Elk Grove, CA 95758-8501
Voice: (916) 683-7460
FAX (916) 683-7770