Sacramento - Assemblymember Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) is pleased to announce that Governor Brown has signed Assembly Bill 324 into law. AB 324 clarifies the status of the law with regard to the commitment and housing of juvenile sex offenders in response to a recent court case that would prohibit the commitment of some of these offenders to the Department of Juvenile Facilities (DJF).
“With realignment, the state is in a historic process of shifting responsibility for most juvenile offenders back to the counties,” Buchanan stated. “However, the intention has always been to allow commitment at DJF to be an ongoing alternative for juveniles who have committed registrable sex offenses. We want to give the counties needed flexibility in determining the best way to house and treat juvenile sex offenders.”
The realignment provisions of 2007 were intended to reserve state-level commitment exclusively for those juveniles who had committed serious or violent felonies, or a sex offense listed in Penal Code section 290.008(c). In a recent decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that youth currently being held at DJF on the basis of sex offenses were not eligible for state-level commitment. AB 324 clarifies that juvenile offenders who commit sex offenses will be eligible for commitment to DJF going forward; in addition counties may contract with DJF for the continued housing of those juvenile offenders who were committed to DJF at the time of the court’s decision.
“This bill allows local judges to determine the most appropriate level of commitment for juvenile sex offenders based upon the individual facts of the case and keeps commitment to DJF as an option for those offenders who require a higher level of detention and treatment than what is available at the county level,” indicated Buchanan.
Contact: Susanna Schlendorf, (916) 319-2015