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Our New Restorative Justice Program and an Ambitious Statewide Plan to Reimagine Juvenile Justice

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

On April 23rd, the number of young people in juvenile hall dipped down to its lowest level since the 90s with just 9 youth in detention. Our Justice Services team has worked tirelessly with alongside partners to get these young people moved from the facility to home placements or group homes to protect them from the traumatizing impact of this jail-like environment and offer them the supportive and rehabilitative services needed to heal and grow.

Our Justice Services team has also recently been approached by the Public Defenders Office to develop a restorative justice program in place of formal sentencing to promote restorative circles in which young people take responsibility for their actions and engage in healing conversations with those they’ve impacted.

Photo above: Governor Gavin Newsom and others on the Zoom call when he signed Bill SB 823 into law.

And in a huge win for advocates of juvenile justice reform, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law bill SB 823 that will lead to the closure of the state’s troubled, racist, and violent youth prison system. By phasing out state detention facilities, young people will be able to stay closer to home and families, giving county jails more say in the detention process.

The SB 823 bill is part of an ambitious plan to reform the juvenile justice system and will also lead to the creation of the Office of Youth and Community Restoration, whose job it will be to help local counties create a system of care, supervision, and healing rehabilitative programs for these young people. Included in the bill is a block grant that will fund these changes, fiscal oversight by the OYCR to ensure the goals of the bill are being met, and modernized statewide data collection and reporting requirements. Reform proponents say the bill is a game changer and a “historic opportunity to advance racial equity and transform the youth justice system.”

Sunset Youth Services looks forward to working together with the city and other community-based agencies to imagine, plan, and implement these new systems of care for vulnerable young people.


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