Thurmond’s Youth Sponsored Legislation to Reduce Juvenile Recidivism Advances

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

SACRAMENTO – AB 1488, authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), seeks to reduce juvenile recidivism rates by ensuring that all counties have programs to connect youth leaving detention to the critical reentry services. The bill passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee.

“Every child deserves a real opportunity at a second chance,” Thurmond said. “Too often, youth leave juvenile detention without a home or any support.  Without access to reentry services, many youth will recidivate. This bill reverses that trend by creating a pathway for success for youth leaving the juvenile justice system. When counties work with service providers to ensure housing and other essential services for youth upon release from juvenile correctional facilities, we will see recidivism drop significantly.”

This bill was created by youth from Camp Wilmont Sweeney, a juvenile detention camp in San Leandro. For the past year, Thurmond worked with the youth, providing them instruction in civics and advocacy. In creating this bill, they envisioned Juvenile Transition Centers as a catalyst for change, preparing them for a meaningful future.

According to the state Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF), 70% of youth paroled from its institutions were re-arrested within 2 years, many for serious crimes. DJF also documented extremely high rates of mental health disorders (approximately 70%) and substance abuse histories (exceeding 80%) for its release populations. These statistics underscore the need to reduce reoffending by providing wholistic services to address reentry issues and facilitate a juvenile’s reintegration back into society.

AB 1488 requires counties to create a workgroup comprised of community organizations, law enforcement, health officials, juveniles in detention and their families. Together, these stakeholders will discuss and assess the resources needed for the creation and support of juvenile transition centers. This measure is critical in order for juveniles in the community to receive services, in a safe and supportive environment and to dramatically reduce the odds of reoffending once they have returned to the community.

RELEASE CONTACT: Ayodeji Taylor (916) 319-2015

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond represents the 15th Assembly District, comprised of the cities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Tara Hills, and a portion of Oakland.