How should a juvenile criminal be prosecuted? That is the question at hand. Right now most juvenile crime cases are currently handled by the juvenile court system. If given permission, juveniles can be tried as adults, but current laws prohibit juveniles from being housed with adult criminals. So most juveniles convicted as adults are housed in juvenile facility until they reach the age of 18. There are about 100,000 juvenile offenders annually who are on probation in California. The majority of these offenders are on formal probation, which means that they appear in front of court to resolve their cases. In most informal case, they not need to appear in front of the court, because the probation department is able to directly impose needed sanctions. After the completion of informal probation, juveniles have their records wiped clean.
For proposition 21 the government has come up with an initiative, which would try offenders as adults rather than juvenile. Proposition 21 would require juvenile offenders 14 years or older to be charged as adults. It would eliminate informal probation, and further limit confidentiality for juveniles who are charged with or convicted of specified felonies. Proposition would require that certain juvenile crime offenders be held in a local or state correctional facilities rather than in juvenile facilities. Prop. 21 would designate certain crimes as violent and serious, thereby making offenders subject to longer sentences.
These are the ideas of Proposition 21, but as with many propositions, it does not come cheap. Prop. 21 would give the State of California an ongoing cost of more than 330 millions dollars annually, due to higher cost of the adult court and prison system. Also the state would have to pay a one-time cost of about 750 million dollars due to construction of new facilities. This is one reason why opponents say Prop. 21 should not pass, because of the cost.