CDCR’s Division of Juvenile Justice Marks Anniversaries of Key Facilities

STOCKTON, Calif. — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) recently marked the 25th anniversary of the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility and the 50th anniversary of the O.H. Close School for Boys (now O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility), both located in Stockton.

“O.H. Close and N.A. Chaderjian have had some challenging times over the years and now are model institutions. I’m proud of the progress both facilities have made as we celebrate these significant anniversaries,” CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan said in a statement.

The anniversaries come soon after the successful termination of the Farrell lawsuit against the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), which operates the Close and Chaderjian facilities, according to a statement by the CDCR. 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). In her suit, Farrell claimed CYA was expending funds on policies, procedures and practices that were illegal under state law. Farrell additionally claimed that CYA failed in its statutory duties to provide adequate treatment and rehabilitation for juvenile offenders in its care. The lawsuit further alleged that the youth offenders were denied adequate medical, dental and mental health care.

In November 2004, all parties entered into a consent decree in which DJJ agreed to develop and implement six detailed remedial plans in the areas of safety and welfare, mental health, education, sexual behavior treatment, health care and dental services and youth with disabilities, according to a CDCR statement. 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 approach can help to reduce institutional violence as well as the risk of future criminal behavior.

“The remediation plan under the Farrell suit was one of the most far reaching in American juvenile justice history,” DJJ Director Michael Minor said in a statement. “Our treatment programs are now evidence-based and we are focused on helping our youth learn and develop the skills they need to succeed when they return to their community.”

On Feb. 25, 2016, an Alameda Superior Court judge terminated the Farrell lawsuit against DJJ (as successor to the CYA) on the basis of the work that has been done to promote positive programs to rehabilitate youth in the juvenile justice system, according to a CDCR statement.

“The culture in our facilities has shifted significantly,” Minor added. “I am proud to say that DJJ is once again one of the most progressive juvenile corrections systems in the nation.”

DJJ provides education and treatment to California’s youthful offenders up to the age of 23 who have the most serious criminal backgrounds and most intense treatment needs. Most juvenile offenders today are committed to county facilities located within their home communities where they can be closer to their families and local social services that are vital to rehabilitation.