JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM
Ending Juvenile Incarceration in SF
For years, Sunset Youth Services has been working with the Juvenile Justice Providers Association and other community leaders to promote restorative-justice practices and reform a punitive system that mirrors prison and sets kids on a path to future incarceration. In November 2018, we and other community-based organizations began laboring alongside city supervisors to end juvenile incarceration, which set the wheels in motion for a historic vote in June of 2019 to end the practice in San Francisco.
Our role in the process? To keep the needs of young people and their families at the front and center of justice conversations, encourage collaboration among stakeholders, and model a restorative process in which politics and power dynamics are set aside in favor of what serves our communities best. The process was a complex and often frustrating one, but we remained committed to showing up, advocating for our disadvantaged young people and families, and engaging community-based organizations as much needed subject-matter experts. We believe this process has the potential to lay the groundwork for wide-ranging juvenile justice reform. We look forward to working with community leaders in pioneering a restorative justice model that works: one in which young people are given hope, the resources essential to thrive, and the support needed to chart a positive path to adulthood.
Advocating for the Needs of Youth and Families
Juvenile Hall Closure Slated for 2022
Sunset Youth Services staff spoke out against juvenile detention at the May, 16, 2019 San Francisco City Hall meeting. After 3 hours of public comment and a groundswell of support to close Juvenile Hall, a unanimous committee vote pushed the measure to the full board, and on June 4, ten city supervisors––a veto-proof majority––signed on to support the legislation. The detention facility could be closed as soon as 2021.
Juvenile Hall Closure Public Comments Joel 5-16-19
Juvenile Hall Closure Public Comments Dawn 5-16-19
Juvenile Hall Closure Public Comments Ron 5-16-19
Juvenile Hall Closure Public Comments Dawn 5-16-19
Speaker 1: Joel Tarman (Director of Digital Arts & Technology)
Speaker 2: Ron Stueckle (Director of Justice Services)
Speaker 3: Dawn Stueckle (Executive Director)
Length: 5 minutes
The Urgent First Steps
to a Better Justice System
The JJPA Blueprint
In 2020 the Juvenile Justice Providers Association (a network of 20+ community-based agencies in SF), began meeting weekly through quarantine to research and write a blueprint for justice reform. As lead agency, we spearheaded the effort and spent hundreds of hours in committees and subcommittees, gathering input from stakeholders and community members and refining ideas.
The blueprint helps define what community-based care might look like in homelike environments with therapy, education, and other resources in partnerships with teachers, families and others invested in the life of the young person. Recommendations included how to finance these changes by reallocating specific city funds.
In it we argue for swift action by city supervisors, urging them to:
• Reduce the footprint of juvenile probation in the life of SF youth
• Immediately implement policies to reduce the number of youth in detention
• Commit to closing juvenile hall in order to reduce harm to youth
• Change the system to prioritize the health and wellbeing of young people
Click on the JJPA Blueprint below to learn about the demographics of incarcerated youth, the diversion process being recommended, and the community care that we believe will be necessary to help improve the outcomes of these young people.
Youth Incarceration & Crime
The Incarceration Epidemic
Any comprehensive picture of incarceration is complicated by the fact that our country is not made up of a single criminal justice system but rather a collection of local, tribal, state, and federal systems that use different methods to collect and report data. This March 2022 report from The Prison Policy Initiative offers perhaps the most comprehensive view yet of our "justice system," dispelling common myths and exposing the real drivers of mass incarceration.
To better understand the far-reaching impact of incarceration on America's families, watch this interactive video powered by research from FWD.us and Cornell University. Click here for the complete report.
The Dramatic Drop in Youth Crime in CA over Decades
To better understand the plummeting youth crime rate across the state of California, and seen countrywide, watch this two-part interactive feature by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Please note: "The Chronicle reviewed local, state and national crime and demographic statistics from the past three decades for these stories, and compiled juvenile hall population and spending or budget figures for 14 California counties going back 10 years."
Relevant and Recent Media Related to
San Francisco's Juvenile Justice Reform
- "I felt it was my responsibility": A Probation Commissioner Spent 25 Hours in San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall
- Family Claims Daughter Held in SF Juvenile Hall for 11 Days Despite Release Order