Thursday, February 25, 2016

Class-action Lawsuit against California’s Division of Juvenile Justice Terminated after Sweeping Reforms

Class-action Lawsuit against California’s Division of Juvenile Justice Terminated after Sweeping Reforms

State now national model for youth offender treatment

OAKLAND – After more than a decade of reforms in California’s juvenile justice system - including limiting use of force, involving families in the rehabilitation of youth, and greatly reducing the juvenile offender population - the Alameda County Superior Court today terminated the Farrell lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

“The Farrell case was resolved through years of hard work to improve our juvenile justice system,” said CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan. “DJJ has transformed itself into a national leader run by a staff that believes in rehabilitation.”

On January 16, 2003, Margaret Farrell, a taxpayer in the state of California, filed a lawsuit against the director of what was then called the California Youth Authority (CYA). The suit claimed CYA was expending funds on policies, procedures and practices that were illegal under state law. Farrell also claimed that CYA failed in its statutory duties to provide adequate treatment and rehabilitation for juvenile offenders in its care. The lawsuit also alleged that the youth offenders were denied adequate medical, dental and mental health care.

On November 19, 2004, the parties entered into a consent decree in which DJJ agreed to develop and implement six detailed remedial plans in the following areas: safety and welfare, mental health, education, sexual behavior treatment, health care, dental services, and youth with disabilities. One of the most important reforms was the implementation of the Integrated Behavior Treatment Model (IBTM), a comprehensive approach to assessing, understanding and treating youth. The IBTM helps to reduce institutional violence and the risk of future criminal behavior.
“So many significant changes were made with Farrell, but I think the key would be the culture shift. We became an organization that’s built on evidence-based treatment programs that help youth build skills to be successful upon release,” DJJ Director Mike Minor said.

Separate from the Farrell remedial plans, but an important part of the overall reform, was the 2007 realignment of California’s juvenile justice system which reduced the DJJ population from 10,000 youth offenders to approximately 700. This made the living units less crowded and led to an improved staff- to-youth ratio.

One of the experts appointed by the court to assist in the transformation of DJJ was Barry Krisberg, a Senior Fellow at the UC Berkeley School of Law and a nationally known authority on juvenile justice. In a paper from 2014, Krisberg wrote that DJJ is “one of the most progressive juvenile corrections systems in the nation” and it “offers many very valuable policies and processes that could well benefit other jurisdictions.”

Now that the Farrell case has been terminated, DJJ will continue to offer and build on the services offered. These include the operation of an accredited school district providing youth with the same high school curriculum that they would receive in their home community. All non-graduates attend school Monday through Friday to work toward their high school diploma or, if they have short commitment periods, toward their GED’s. From 2010-2015, a total of 1,070 youth earned their high school diplomas or GED’s at one of the four DJJ youth facilities. Also during that time, 696 youth earned nationally recognized certificates in vocational training.

For media inquiries concerning the DJJ, please contact Joe Orlando, Public Information Officer at (916) 445-4950.
For community inquiries, please contact Albert Rivas, Deputy Chief, Office of External Affairs at (916) 445-4950 or



Friday, February 19, 2016

CDCR Staff Awarded Top Honors For SB/DVBE Program Success

The Department of General Services, Procurement Division, recently hosted the 16th Annual State Agency Recognition Award (SARA) ceremony to recognize the Governor’s commitment to meet or exceed Small Business (SB) and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) contracting goals for Fiscal Year 2014-2015.
The 16th Annual SARA ceremony featured 11 different award categories and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) received top honors in multiple categories.

Nina Martinez, CDCR Statewide SB/DVBE Advocate

Government Operations Agency Secretary’s Special Achievement Award
Nina A. Martinez, CDCR Statewide SB/DVBE Advocate
This award goes to the state department, agency or individual whose best practices, innovation, and advocacy efforts have allowed them to go above and beyond in exceeding the state’s SB/DVBE contracting goals.

The 2015 Agency Secretary Award winner improved participation in the following ways:

Leading her department’s SB/DVBE Program, including training, providing staff support, state agency collaboration, and vendor support services.

Through her hard work and commitment to excellence, this winner has done an impressive job raising her department’s performance to historic levels.

During the last four years, this winner has attended over 140 outreach events to help educate suppliers on how to do business with her department and guide them through the most appropriate competitive bid process.

When not in the field, this advocate supports her team by providing resources, materials and information, while supporting and cross-training her peers to further the department’s SB/DVBE objectives.

The department advocate exceeded the small business goal at 32 percent, contracting out $333.1 million to small businesses; and exceeded the DVBE goal at 4 percent, contracting out $40.9 million to Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises.

 SARA SILVER Winner: CDCR, Headquarters

This SILVER agency improved participation, by:
  • Participating in 75 outreach event opportunities, training, forums and meetings.
  • Collaborating with various entities to help educate SB/DVBEs on how to do business with CDCR.
  • Their SB participation for FY 14-15 was 33 percent and DVBE participation was 4 percent.

CDCR SB/DVBE Advocate Finalists
  • Annette Holling, Procurement & Services Officer II - California Institution for Men
  • Debra Steward, Materials & Stores Supervisor I - San Quentin State Prison
  • Eleanor Amith, Business Services Officer I - Avenal State Prison
  • Elizabeth Swanson-Callan, Business Services Officer I - California Medical Facility
  • Irene Contreras, Business Services Officer I - Valley State Prison
  • Lisa Tackett, Procurement & Services Officer II - Kern Valley State Prison
  • Sam Venero, Correctional Business Manager I - Ironwood State Prison
  • Keala Barkhurst, Office Technician - California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility
  • Linda Langley, Correctional Business Manager I - Wasco State Prison
  • Nina A. Martinez, HQ, Statewide SB/DVBE Advocate

Lisa Tackett, Kern Valley State Prison

Advocate of the year PLATINUM winner
Lisa Tackett, Procurement and Services Officer II, Kern Valley State Prison

  • Has been the advocate for over 4 years.
  • Disseminates information, trains staff and is always available to assist by phone or in person.
  • Their SB participation was 80 percent (714 contracts totaling $3.75 million) and their DVBE participation was 8 percent (315 contracts totaling $360,386).

Sam Venero, Ironwood State Prison

 Advocate of the year SILVER winner
Sam G. Venero, Correctional Business Manager I – Ironwood State Prison
  • Assisted in training and mentoring staff while helping to foster relationships between staff and the SB/DVBE community.
  • Effectively communicated with vendors and assisted with billing, shipping or invoicing issues promptly.
  • Their SB participation was 86 percent the DVBE participation was 9 percent.

Note:  A full list of winners, nominees, videos, and photos can be viewed at