National Center for Youth Law

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PROMYSE Act – Promoting Youth Success and Empowerment Act (2021)
SB 493 Bradford

SB 493 improves the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act by ensuring adequate oversight, equitable decision-making, and effective investments prioritizing our communities’ most critical needs.

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Overview

In 2000, the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act (JJCPA) was enacted to support youth locally and limit involvement in the justice system through collaborative efforts. For twenty years, county spending has fallen short of the bill’s original goals. In 2018-19, the state spent nearly $160 million through the non-competitive JJCPA grant without adequate oversight nor accountability.  

The California State Auditor released a report in May 2020 verifying long-held concerns about poor JJCPA spending, decision-making, and reporting. In its review of a diverse sample of counties, the audit finds that counties’ outdated spending plans have failed to address youths’ needs and their reports do not demonstrate program effectiveness. In 2017–18, four of the five counties spent over 75 percent of their JJCPA funds on probation departments despite massive declines in youth contact with probation.  

Since 2000, youth arrests have declined by over 80 percent, leaving far more youth whose needs can only be met in the community. However, most counties spend little to none of their JJCPA funds on community-based organizations (CBOs). Some JJCPA-funded programs can even have a net-widening effect and negatively impact youth participants, unless the state establishes guidelines and accountability measures. While each county is required to make JJCPA funding decisions through a Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council (JJCC), the audit found that counties left mandatory stakeholder seats vacant. 20 percent of all California counties lacked a JJCC entirely during the audit review period.  

Organizations providing services for youth in marginalized communities have been hard hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill ensures stable funding for critical services run by schools, public health agencies, and CBOs to support at-promise and justice-involved youth. We must also confront the legacy of policy choices that have resulted in a justice system that disparately harms youth of color. Better JJCPA investments can ensure state funds no longer prop up a system that has failed communities of color. Instead, we can invest in youth development and equity. 

PROMYSE Act – Promoting Youth Success and Empowerment Act

SB 493 addresses chronic shortcomings of JJCPA grant implementation and serves as a stimulus for the public health, education, and CBO sectors. It will: 

  • Reform JJCC requirements to ensure equitable (at least 50 percent) community representation in improved decision-making processes.
  • Require counties to distribute at least 95 percent of allotted JJCPA funds to CBOs and/or public agencies that are non-law enforcement agencies. 
  • Strengthen county reporting and evaluation processes by the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) to include critical evidence on youth served and program effectiveness.

NCYL is partnering with ACLU-California, the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (ABMoC), the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), the Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA), the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ), Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), MILPA Collective, the W. Haywood Burns Institute, and the Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) in order to represent a wide scale of support for this change. As we move through the legislative process, we invite community members and advocates to join our efforts. If you are interested in supporting this effort please submit a letter of support or contact Jasmine Amons at jamons@youthlaw.org for other ways to get involved.

Author: Sen. Bradford

Co-authors: Assemblymember Stone,  Assemblymember Chiu, and Assemblymember Lee