Governor Jerry Brown has signed two new bills into law that has the potential to dramatically change the juvenile justice system.
Under Senate Bill 439, children under 12 will not be prosecuted in the juvenile system unless the alleged crimes committed are murder or rape. Instead those children will be diverted to counseling and treatment.
Senate Bill 1391 eliminates the ability to try a defendant under the age of 16 as an adult, thereby sending them to prison.
Previously, prosecutors could request to transfer 14- and 15-year-olds to adult court if they were charged with a serious offense, such as murder, arson, robbery, rape or kidnapping.
Those convicted under the new law would be held in locked juvenile facilities instead of adult prisons.
The two new laws go into effect next year. The goal is to keep kids out of the court system and hopefully out of the overcrowded prison system when they become adults.
You can read more about the changes in the law here, as well as reaction to the new laws.