California governor seeks to transform youth prisons

Gov. Newsom has proposed to change the way California's juvenile prisons are overseen, eventually closing facilities to cut what he called the "ludicrous" cost.

Newsom said at one of the state's four remaining juvenile detention centers, "if we're going to get serious about changing the trajectory of the lives of these young children, I think we need to do it through a different lens and not the traditional corrections lens." The Democratic governor is asking state lawmakers to put youth prisons under California's Health and Human Services Agency. Youthful offenders currently are overseen by the same agency that runs adult prisons.

He said the current system isn't working, with about three out of four young offenders arrested again within three years of their release. According to 2017 figures, more than half are convicted of new crimes and more than a third are soon back in state custody.

Newsom said after touring a new computer coding class at one of two youth prisons in Stockton "if we're going to change the criminal justice system, let's start at the 'feeder system,' which is the juvenile justice system."

Dawn Kamber