Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Inventory of the Youth Authority Records
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (189.43 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Agency History

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Youth Authority Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1872-1993
    Collection number: F3738
    Creator: >California Youth Authority
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Youth Authority Records, F3738:[folder number], California State Archives.

    Agency History

    The State Reform School at Marysville, established in 1860 ( Stats. 1860, ch. 234), opened as California's first state institution for the reform of juvenile offenders. The school operated for eight years, transferring twenty-eight wards at its closing in 1868 to the San Francisco Industrial School. Established and run as a city and county institution in 1858 (ch. 209), the Industrial School at San Francisco remained open until 1892.
    Legislation in 1889 established the Preston School of Industry and a Reform School for Juvenile Offenders at Los Angeles (ch. 103 and 108 respectively). Preston existed as a correctional institution for male juvenile offenders between sixteen and twenty-one years of age, while the Reform School for Juvenile Offenders dealt with males and females between seven and eighteen years of age. The objectives of the two schools aimed at discipline, education, employment, reform, and the protection of juvenile delinquents.
    A State Board of Prison Directors governed Preston until 1893 (ch. 22) when a board of trustees appointed by the governor superseded the State Board. The Reform School for Juvenile Offenders, governed by a board of trustees, changed its name to Whittier State School in 1893 (ch. 222) and again in 1941 (ch. 1266) to Fred C. Nelles School for Boys. The girls department of Whittier became independent in 1913 (ch. 401) creating a separate California School for Girls. Ventura School for Girls replaced the name California School for Girls in 1925 (ch. 327).
    Legislation transferred all three schools, placed under the jurisdiction of the Department of Institutions in 1921 (ch. 610), to the Department of Youth Authority in 1943 (ch. 481). The Youth Authority had been created in 1941 (ch. 937) as an independent agency called the Youth Correction Authority. The Authority dropped the word correction from its title in 1943 (ch. 690) in an attempt to emphasize prevention as well as correction in the Authority's program. The Prison Reorganization Act of 1944 (3rd Ex. Sess., ch. 2) moved the Youth Authority to the Department of Corrections where it remained until it became independent in 1953 (ch. 1304).
    Although the Youth Authority has remained independent since 1953, it has come under the jurisdiction of several administrative agencies. Established in 1961, the Youth and Adult Corrections Agency presided over the Youth Authority until 1967 when the Human Relations Agency assumed jurisdiction. The Health and Welfare Agency became responsible for overseeing the affairs of the Youth Authority in 1972. By 1979 the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency (formerly Youth and Adult Corrections) resumed jurisdiction over the Youth Authority.
    The divisions and branches within the Youth Authority have changed repeatedly since the inception of the Youth Authority, reflecting the Department's changing goals. The Department has included divisions of Administrative Services; Planning, Research, and Evaluation Development; Rehabilitation; Probation and Delinquency Prevention; Diagnosis and Treatment; Institutions (or Field Services); Parole Services and Community Corrections and others. In 1994 the Youth Authority included three branches: Institutions and Camps, Parole Services and Community Corrections, and Administration.
    The Board of the Youth Authority has the responsibility for classification, segregation, parole and discharge of all youths committed to it. In its primary mission, the Youth Authority aims at protecting society from the consequences of criminal activity by: offering a broad range of services to youthful offenders directed at permanently reducing criminal behavior, assisting local criminal justice agencies with efforts to combat crime and delinquency, and encouraging the development of local crime and delinquency prevention programs.
    Records of the State Reform School (Marysville) include Board of Trustees' Minute Book, 1860-1868 (B0898, #1155); Cash Ledger, 1861-1868 (B0898, #2308); and Register of Audited Accounts, 1862-1868 (B7857, #2309). They can be found under the bound volumes inventory of the Youth Authority and the Office of the Secretary of State.