Although there were internal affairs processes and the Inspector General could be contacted with
complaints, there was no ongoing comprehensive system of oversight for the state facilities.
Oddly, given the lack of oversight for its own institutions, the California Youth Authority
was given responsibility for promulgating standards and inspecting county juvenile facilities.152
The early standards for county facilities lacked specificity in key areas, provided no time limits on
the use of locked room time, and offered only general principles on discipline and isolation.153
Despite this lack of rigor in standards and enforcement, the inspections at least assured that outside
eyes observed what was happening in county facilities.154 But even this modicum of oversight
ceased when, as a result of budget cuts in 1992, the state eliminated funding for Youth Authority
inspections of county facilities.155 Instead, counties were instructed to inspect their own facilities
and certify compliance with state standards to the Youth Authority.156 There were no sanctions for
failure to comply.157
More than a decade later, the state reinstituted county juvenile facility inspections and
placed responsibility for this oversight under the authority of the Board of Corrections, which then
became the Corrections Standards Authority in 2004.158 In 2012, that agency, too, was replaced,
becoming the Board of State and Community Corrections (Board).159 The Board’s Minimum
Standards for Juvenile Facilities, which became effective in 2014,160 included only brief
provisions on “Separation.”
The facility administrator shall develop and implement written policies and
procedures addressing the separation of youth for reasons that include, but are not
be limited to, medical and mental health conditions, assaultive behavior,
disciplinary consequences and protective custody. Separated youth shall not be
denied normal privileges available at the facility, except when necessary to
accomplish the objective of separation. When the objective of the separation is
discipline, Title 15 Section 1390 shall apply. Policies and procedures shall ensure
a daily review of separated youth to determine if separation remains necessary.161
152 CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE § 851.
153 See, e.g., STATE OF CAL., HEALTH & WELFARE AGENCY, DEPT. OF THE YOUTH AUTHORITY, STANDARDS FOR
JUVENILE HALLS (1973). For example, the Standard on “Behavior Control” stated that removal from the group should
be resorted to only when a minor is out of control and must be removed for the protection of himself or the protection
of others. The duration of restriction shall be determined on an individual basis. Any isolation shall be used in
conjunction with effective casework services.” Id. at 29. The only other reference to isolation was in the standard for
Counseling and Casework. It said that “After a minor has been accepted at juvenile hall, showered, and issued clothing,
and other essential, he should not be locked in a room with no further explanation and isolated with his own thoughts.”
Id. at 27.
154 LOREN WARBOYS & SUE BURRELL, YOUTH LAW CENTER, WORKING TOGETHER: BUILDING LOCAL MONITORING
CAPACITY FOR JUVENILE DETENTION CENTERS (THE CALIFORNIA JUVENILE HALL SELF INSPECTION PROJECT) 3-4
(1997) [hereinafter WARBOYS & BURRELL].
155 Id. at 3.
156 Id. at 3; CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE § 209(d) (Stats. 1992, c. 695, (S.B. 97), § 27).
157 CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE § 209(d) (Stats. 1992, c. 695, (S.B. 97), § 27).
158 History of the BSCC, CAL. GOV., http://www.bscc.ca.gov/s_historyofthebscc.php. That agency became the
Corrections Standards Authority in 2004.
160 BOARD OF STATE AND COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS, TITLE 15 MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR JUVENILE FACILITIES