California Proposition 21, Treatment of Juvenile Offenders (2000)

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California Proposition 21 was on the March 7, 2000 ballot in California as am initiated state statute, where it was approved.

Proposition 21 made various changes to California's laws related to the treatment of juvenile offenders:

  • Juveniles 14 years of age or older charged with committing certain types of murder or a serious sex offense, under Prop 21, are generally no longer eligible for juvenile court and prosecutors are allowed to directly file charges against juvenile offenders in adult court for a variety of circumstances without having to get the permission of juvenile court to do that.
  • Under Prop 21, probation departments do not have the discretion to determine if juveniles arrested for any one of more than 30 specific serious or violent crimes should be released or detained; rather, Prop 21 makes detention mandatory under those defined circumstances.
  • Prohibits the use of informal probation for any juvenile offender who commits a felony.
  • Prop 21 reduced confidentiality for juvenile suspects and offenders by barring the sealing or destruction of juvenile offense records for any minor 14 years of age or older who has committed a serious or violent offense.
  • Prop 21 increased extra prison terms for gang-related crimes to two, three, or four years, unless they are serious or violent crimes. In those cases, the new extra prison terms would be five and ten years.
  • Revised the lists of specific crimes defined as serious or violent offenses, making most of them subject to the longer sentence provisions of existing law related to serious and violent offenses.[1]

Election results

Chart prepared by the LAO to illustrate the fiscal impact of Proposition 21
Proposition 21
Approveda Yes 4,491,166 62.1%

Text of measure


The ballot title was:

Juvenile Crime. Initiative Statute.


The summary of the ballot measure prepared by the California Attorney General read:

  • Increases punishment for gang-related felonies; death penalty for gang-related murder; indeterminate life sentences for home-invasion robbery, carjacking, witness intimidation and drive-by shootings; and creates crime of recruiting for gang activities; and authorizes wiretapping for gang activities
  • Requires adult trial for juveniles 14 or older charged with murder or specified sex offenses.
  • Eliminates informal probation for juveniles committing felonies.
  • Requires registration for gang related offenses.
  • Designates additional crimes as violent and serious felonies, thereby making offenders subject to longer sentences.

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The California Legislative Analyst's Office provided an estimate of net state and local government fiscal impact for Proposition 21. That estimate was:

  • State costs: Ongoing annual costs of more than $330 million. One-time costs of about $750 million.
  • Local costs: Potential ongoing annual costs of tens of millions of dollars to more than $100 million. Potential one-time costs in the range of $200 million to $300 million.

Campaign contributions

$587,005 was spent supporting the measure. $431,829 was spent opposing it.

Opponents of the measure included:

See also

External links