Title: Youth Authority Records,
Date (inclusive): 1872-1993
Collection number: F3738
>California Youth Authority
California State Archives
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[Identification of item], Youth Authority Records, F3738:[folder number], California State Archives.
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
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superseded the State Board.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.