May 15, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is part of California’s criminal justice system that deals exclusively with the crimes and subsequent punishment and rehabilitation of our youth. Originally known as the California Youth Authority (CYA), the division began in 1943, providing training and parole supervision for juvenile and young adult offenders.

The DJJ’s mission is to protect the public from criminal activity. The law mandates the Division to:
• Provide training and treatment services for youth offenders convicted in a court of law
• Direct youth offenders to participate in community and victim restoration
• Assist police and other agencies with efforts to control crime and delinquency
• Encourage the development of state and local programs to prevent crime and delinquency

When a minor is committed directly to the DJJ, they do not receive a ‘sentence’ for their juvenile crimes in California. Their length of stay is instead determined by the severity of the crime they committed and their progress toward parole readiness. If a minor is found guilty at a juvenile court proceeding, he or she will be sentenced separately. For less serious offenses, sentencing could include probation, restitution to victims, community service, a halfway house or foster care. More serious offenders could be sent to training school or a secure facility (“lock-up”). Minors who became wards of the court before age 16 can be kept in state custody until age 21; minors ages 16 or older can be kept until they’re 25.

The California juvenile crimes defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich believe that it is always in a minor’s best interest to retain a highly experienced juvenile criminal defense law firm when first accused of a criminal charge. Our attorneys help minors facing serious criminal charges in addition to helping minors clean up his or her juvenile record. If your child is facing the seriousness of juvenile criminal charges, contact us today at 1-888-280-6839. Also, visit us online at to learn more about your case and what can be done.

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