(Sacramento) – Today Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr. requested $100 million from the California State budget to establish the “Youth Reinvestment Fund.” An investment that would improve the outcomes of vulnerable youth populations by using trauma informed community and health-based interventions in lieu of arrest, detention and incarceration.
“Thousands of California youth are incarcerated every year for low-level offenses and they deserve better,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer. “It’s time we stop locking up our children and start investing in their future.”
The Youth Reinvestment Fund proposal would allocate $15 million to hire social workers to support cases involving minors in juvenile or criminal court, within the public defender office. $10 million would fund Tribal Diversion Programs for Native American youth, and $75 million would fund local diversion programs and community-based services for at risk youth over a 3-year grant period.
“California has the opportunity – and responsibility – to make an investment in the future of the state’s youth by creating a fund focused on giving our kids a second chance to improve their lives,” said Shane Murphy Goldsmith, chief executive officer and president of the Los Angeles-based Liberty Hill Foundation. “We know that community programs are cheaper than prison and are more effective at helping youth put their lives on the right course.”
Researchers found diversion and mentoring programs produced $3.36 of benefits for every dollar spent in terms of reduced crime and associated costs to taxpayers. This more appropriate approach can have the added benefit of reducing the disproportionate impact the justice system has had on our most vulnerable youth.
Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. represents South Los Angeles, Florence-Firestone, Walnut Park, and a portion of Huntington Park.
CONTACT: Shelli Jackson, (916) 319-2059, firstname.lastname@example.org