California’s juvenile justice system seeks to end the incarceration of girls and young women

Four California counties will soon be offering girls and young women in youth jails more community-based alternatives to being detained.

The initiative follows a pilot in Santa Clara County, established in 2018, which found that most incarcerated youth in girls’ units were in jails for lack of somewhere safe to go. Even when probation officials recommended their release, the girls stayed in county jails because of a lack of appropriate alternatives, such as safe temporary housing in a foster home or financial support to avoid returning to an abusive relationship.