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 community 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 that requires intensive treatment services conducted in a structured and secure environment.
DJJ provides academic and vocational education, treatment programs that address violent and criminogenic behavior, sex offender behavior, and substance abuse and mental health problems, and medical care, 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 framework for DJJ’s programs is the Integrated Behavior Treatment Model. It is designed to reduce institutional violence and future criminal behavior by teaching anti-criminal attitudes and providing personal skills for youth to better manage their environment. 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 to reduce the risk of re-offending.
DJJ operates an accredited school district, providing youth with the same high school curriculum in each of its four institutions that they would receive in their local community. Youth attend school each day to achieve a high school diploma. Youth whose commitment period is too short to fulfill that requirement are guided through a GED curriculum. DJJ considers a diploma or GED a minimum requirement for parole consideration. Certificates in a variety of vocations and college classes are offered to graduates as well.