Katherine Lucero Says She’s Committed to Overhaul of State’s Juvenile Justice System

Former Santa Clara County Supreme Court Justice Catherine Lucero is tasked with leading California’s massive change in its juvenile justice system by June 2023, a change that resulted from the signing of Senate Act 823 in 2020.

The juvenile justice department in the state will be virtually closed, and any juvenile who was previously sent to one of his four facilities will now be placed in juvenile facilities in his counties.

There are about 600 young men and women currently living across the four facilities of the state.

Late last year, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Lucero as director of the new Ministry of Youth and Community Rehabilitation, which was created by SB 823. Losero is the daughter of farm workers with experience as the Youth Commissioner for Youth Dependency and most recently as Santa. Judge of the Supreme Court of Clara County for 20 years. This is a full-time job that pays $ 194,868 a year. The new office is located in Sacramento.

The firm, known as OYCR, is housed as part of the California Health and Human Services Agency, in place of the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, a move that signals its new goals and emphasizes a more holistic approach to juvenile rehabilitation in its custody.

The new office is in charge of rehabilitating young people aged 13 to 25 who have been historically tried in the country’s juvenile court system. They were convicted of serious or violent offenses, which could include burglary, assault, murder and other crimes. The average age of teens in incarceration facilities in the country is 19, with a disproportionate majority, 88% by 2020, identifying as black and Latino.

“We believe that all teens deserve fair treatment, that all teens deserve to get back on track and get the support they need to get back on track – even those teens who have committed the most violent crimes,” Lucero said. Last interview. “I saw the beginning to the end, so to speak, with the children, from being on the throne both in the children’s welfare courts and in the juvenile court.”

“I have read thousands of cases … and I can say that teens who commit violent crimes, most of them are known to the welfare system. If no full petition was filed, at least there were very many red flags that these children and their families needed strong interventions based on healing and trauma,” she said. “Our youth who are in the juvenile justice system can easily count from the negative childhood experiences in all forms: domestic violence, community violence, violence resulting from living in poverty, imprisoned parents, the emotional and psychological toll that goes on. Taking on our youth.”

She said the change in California’s approach “is one that fully embraces the role that all of our government entities have played in the life of the child offender and provides a home and healing path that allows children to become the best version of themselves.
“One should not mark a person forever and oblige him to pay for something that happened when he was in the full developmental stage of adolescents in his life. Terrible mistakes can be made and terrible mistakes can be corrected.”

Lucero said the new office will provide technical assistance to counties, to ensure training is available to every county, every probation officer, every district attorney and every public defender how to make sure our children get great educational experiences in custody, then return that bridge to regular schools or homes Their alternative book, if necessary. “

The law that established the new firm carries an annual funding of $ 7.6 million, plus a one-time start-up funding of about $ 27 million.

Lucero admitted that “there is concern that the challenges the division has faced in judging youth – and the large institutional system in which it operates – may be replicated at the district level after the division’s facilities are fully closed next year.”

“We will not bring children far from their families into community care and forget them,” she pledged. “We will have children in their communities, and we will bring them back with blessing and healing and forgiveness because that’s how we are going to lead it.”

Betty Marquez Rosales is an editor at EdSource, a partner in Bay City News.

Katherine Lucero Says She’s Committed to Overhaul of State’s Juvenile Justice System Source link Katherine Lucero Says She’s Committed to Overhaul of State’s Juvenile Justice System

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