The number of juvenile criminal offenders in state custody and supervision in California has been cut significantly since the state in 2007 began shifting nonviolent offenders to county supervision, the state auditor found in an evaluation of the five-year effort, according to the Los Angeles Times. To save the state money and improve services to non-serious offenders, the Legislature in 2007 approved a bill that ended the intake of nonviolent minors to the state Division of Juvenile Facilities, stipulating that the counties should handle custody and care from then on.
The audit found the number of juvenile offenders in state custody dropped from 5,400 in 2007 to 2,500 as of June 2011, but that number has continued to drop and now is at less than 1,000. It also directed that non-serious, youthful offenders released on parole after September 2007 also become the responsibilities of counties. Auditor Elaine Howle said her audit found that unclear goals and poor data collection by an oversight panel prevented a “meaningful assessment” of the program and made it hard to determine whether the realignment is working as intended, but she said her staff found positive impacts in talking to officials in Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and Yuba counties.