Division of Juvenile Justice
The Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) provides education and treatment to California’s youthful offenders up to the age of 25 who have the most serious criminal backgrounds and most intense treatment needs. Most juvenile offenders today are committed to county facilities in their home communities where they can be closer to their families and local social services that are vital to rehabilitation.
As a result, DJJ’s population represents less than one percent of the 225,000 youths arrested in California each year. This population has committed serious and/or violent felonies and requires intensive treatment services conducted in a structured and secure environment.
DJJ provides academic and vocational education, medical care, and treatment programs that address violent, criminogenic, and sex offender behavior, as well as substance abuse and mental health needs while maintaining a safe and secure environment conducive to learning. Treatment is guided by a series of plans supervised by the Alameda Superior Court, as a settlement agreement in a lawsuit known as Farrell.
Youth are assigned living units based on their age, gender, risk of institutional violence, and their specialized treatment needs. The population in each living unit is limited and staffing levels ensure that each youth receives effective attention and rehabilitative programming.
The Integrated Behavior Treatment Model constitutes the framework for DJJ’s programs. It is designed to reduce institutional violence and future criminal behavior by teaching anti-criminal attitudes and providing youth with personal skills to better manage their environments. DJJ staff from every professional discipline work as a team to assess the unique needs of each youth and to develop an individualized treatment program to address them. Through collaboration with the youth, the team administers a case plan that takes advantage of each youth’s personal strengths to maximize treatment in other areas of their life and reduce their risk of re-offending.