Skip to main content

Voices of NGF Fellows

Building Collective Power for a Better Future

Tina Curiel-Allen

Tina Curiel-Allen–a writer, poet, community leader, and Next Generation Fellow–offers a glimpse into her past, the challenges she faced during re-entry, and her hopes for the future.

Last summer, I was a fellow for the first cohort of the Next Generation Fellowship (NGF) put together by CJCJ and MILPA. It was a highlight of my year, and a place I ended up meeting individuals that would unexpectedly change the trajectory of my life.  At the time, I was a 35-year-old undergraduate transfer student at UC Davis. I often sit in classrooms full of students at least a decade younger than me. What took me so long to get here? The short answer is my re-entry took some time. The slightly longer answer is that I, like many formerly incarcerated young people, was the product of a lot of systems. And sometimes re-entry is actually building a healthy life for the first time. That type of building is rarely easy, or quick...


Leadership through Adversity

Cristian Franco

Cristian Franco, a youth mentor and community advocate, discusses the power of sharing your story and the ways the Next Generation Fellowship helped as he shaped his own.

At 8-years-old I was selected to compete in my first regional All-Star baseball tournament. For eight consecutive years after that, I was selected and chosen to play in winter travel teams. I played with friends in the park, and always with my older brother in front of our garage. The sport allowed me to enjoy team camaraderie, compassion, defeat, and victory. I loved it. Once I told my mother, “One day, I will become a professional ball player and buy you a house.” I never achieved that dream because at age 16 it was no longer safe to get picked up by my coach and driven to other cities...


Pathways from Youth Prisons to Colleges for Young Adults

Morghan Vélez Young-Alfaro

Dr. Young-Alfaro's recent study, which follows ten young adults attending college after incarceration, finds college success linked to participation in student-led groups and activism.

The current movement in California to make college degrees accessible to persons with juvenile and criminal records includes several efforts, including the following: streamline the relationship between prisons and local colleges to deliver on-site and remote courses during incarceration; bridge the transfer of transcripts from schools behind bars to colleges on the “outs”; develop college-coordinated programs; and build student-led groups at colleges. The key players in this movement are advocacy centers, community-based organizations, foundations, colleges, government agencies, and student organizing groups themselves...


From Sitting in Detention to Standing in Culture

Brayan Pelayo Corona

Brayan Pelayo, 2017 Next Generation Fellow and Program Coordinator at Youth Law Academy, shares his journey from childhood to community leadership. Brayan works to help transform the justice system into one that provides structural opportunities for racial equality and social justice.

It is six in the morning and I hear “bang!” Five S.W.A.T. police officers pummel our front door with a batting ram. They proceed to yell “police!” while running throughout our home, and begin yelling at my grandparents, mother, and me once they find us relishing in the warmth of our beds. We are swiftly huddled into our living room, where the officers proceed to arrest my abuelito (grandfather) in a ferocious manner, placing two knees into his spine while placing handcuffs on him...

Contribute to CJCJ

Make a difference to youth and adults trying to get their lives back on track.


California Stentencing Institute screenshot

California Sentencing
Institute (CASI)

Explore how California’s 58 counties send their residents to correctional institutions with interactive maps, charts, and downloadable data.

Connect with us

      YouTube

Contribute to CJCJ

Make a difference to youth and adults trying to get their lives back on track.

Join our mailing list

Get regular updates and news delivered to your inbox. We won’t share your information with anyone else.