In his State of the County address on Tuesday, Supervisor Dave Cortese called for a restructuring of the juvenile justice system that would keep young offenders out of juvenile hall. He wants to put juvenile hall “out of business,” and proposes that the age limit for incarceration be raised from twelve to sixteen. At present, children 13 and younger are generally sent to community-based treatment centers, though there have been reported instances of children as young as 10 being sent to juvenile hall.
Meanwhile, Juvenile Court Judge Patrick Tondreau wants to extend the age distinction to probation as well by establishing a separate probation office for juvenile offenders. Today, children are handled by the same probation office as adults. He hopes that this “sends a message to the community that we do treat kids differently than adults.”