Housing a 18 Year Old In County Jail

Welfare and Institutions Code section 208.5 does permit housing a ward in county jail under certain circumstances, but it does not allow the juvenile court to commit an 18-year-old to county jail as part of its disposition order. Instead, the statute permits an 18-year-old ward to remain in a county institution for juveniles until age 19. the statute permits even a 19-year-old ward to remain in a juvenile facility if the court so orders. Nothing in its language excuses the unauthorized disposition that was ordered in this case. Welfare and Institutions Code section 208.5 is one in a series of statutes controlling the custodial segregation of adults and juveniles. Section 207.1 provides in part: "No court, judge, referee, peace officer, or employee of a detention facility shall knowingly detain any minor in a jail or lockup, except as provided in subdivision (b) or (d)." The exceptions include a juvenile found unfit for juvenile court or a juvenile who is a serious security risk. Both exceptions specifically refer to the limits imposed by section 208. Section 208 prohibits contact between "any person under 18 years of age" and any confined adults. It also prohibits contact between a "ward or dependent child of the juvenile court" committed to any state hospital or other state facility and any "adult person" committed to such a facility as a specified type of sex offender. (Ibid.) The statutes in this series, including section 208.5, are designed to regulate housing. None can reasonably be read as intended to expand the authority of the juvenile court beyond the dispositional alternatives specified in section 202, subdivision (e). In re Kirk G. (1977) 67 Cal. App. 3d 538, 539-540 [136 Cal. Rptr. 706], relying on In re Maria A. (1975) 52 Cal. App. 3d 901, 903-904 [125 Cal. Rptr. 382], holds the juvenile court may not place a ward in an adult facility such as a county jail. The Kirk G. court observed, "The Juvenile Court Law carefully sets forth this kind of dispositional order that a juvenile court can make." (67 Cal. App. 3d at p. 540.) The choice of places to which the court can commit a ward is essentially a legislative rather than a judicial prerogative. The court's authority to make "any and all reasonable orders for the . . . custody" of a ward is confined to the custodial dispositions provided for in other sections of the Welfare and Institutions Code, particularly section 202.