Santa Clara judge to lead efforts to overhaul the state’s juvenile justice system


A Santa Clara Superior Court judge will lead a new effort to overhaul the state’s juvenile justice system.

Katherine Lucero resigned after 20 years as a judge to become director of the Office of Community and Youth Restoration.

The new office was created by Senate Bill 823, passed in 2020, and is part of the state’s overhaul of its juvenile justice system, which will close the state’s juvenile prisons in favor of providing rehabilitation services closer to home.

The announcement was made in a press release from the California Courts press room on Friday. He credits Lucero with helping launch several programs while she was a judge, including the following:

– Collaborative courts such as the family treatment court (helps drug addicted parents interfering with custody or visits);

– Family Wellness Court (supports infants and toddlers exposed to drugs); and

– Teen Court (specialized in therapeutic approaches for adolescents in addiction court).

In the press release, Lucero said the bill would shut down the statewide youth prison system and require counties to keep their most needy youth as close to home as possible.

“Evidence has shown that young people in the justice system who stay close to home are more connected to their families, have lower recidivism rates and are better prepared for the transition back to their community. “

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