By Cheyenne Galloway
ALAMEDA, CA – The Alameda County District Attorney has prioritized youth rehabilitation by pledging to keep as many children as possible in the juvenile justice system rather than transferring them to the adult system, according to Alameda County DA Accountability Table (ACDAAT), a coalition of community groups here.
Research reveals the disruptive, harmful, and racially discriminatory reality of youth prosecuted as adults. Youth of Alameda County who are transferred to adult facilities are often traumatized and are disproportionately people of color, specifically Black and Brown youth, said ACDAAT, noting, “Ninety-seven percent of all adult prosecutions of youth in the county from 2006 to 2018 were youth of color.”
Additionally, said the coalition, children are found to receive harsher, prolonged sentences in adult systems; they are more likely to be re-arrested than those who remain in the juvenile system and less likely to receive adequate services and care for their age.
Studies have shown that youth who stay in juvenile facilities are more likely to receive “age-appropriate rehabilitation opportunities” that foster contributing members of society, including but not limited to bi-annual progress checks, educational opportunities, as well as certification and restorative justice programs. reported the coalition.
This week, ACDAAT applauded the DA’s office’s decision to preserve the youth through age-appropriate restorative justice programs offered by the juvenile justice system.
The ACDAAT encompasses many community-based organizations devoted to maintaining justice and non-violent methods in the criminal legal system. It is a prominent advocate for ending all youth transfers.
J. Vasquez, a policy and legal services manager at CURYJ, said, “All youth are sacred, and young people should be seen for more than their worst mistakes. We should instead invest finite county resources into community driven solutions that hold youth accountable without causing them, their families, and our communities long-term harm. Our government structures and investments must provide wraparound services for everyone affected by harm.”
Vasquez added, “We must come together as a community to generate youth violence prevention and intervention solutions that hold young people accountable without giving them life-long psychological trauma. We must develop structures that provide wraparound services for young people who are coming into contact with the legal system.”