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Below you will find our February newsletter with some winter highlights. In this issue: New Fact Sheet on San Francisco’s Reduced Youth Arrests and Incarceration, All Youth Are Sacred Regional Narrative Convenings, and CJCJ Statewide Partnerships.

New Fact Sheet on San Francisco’s Reduced Youth Arrests and Incarceration

CJCJ’s Senior Research Fellow Mike Males recently released a fact sheet titled Is San Francisco a Model for Modernizing Juvenile Justice in Today’s Era of Sharply Reduced Youth Crime? looking at trends in San Francisco youth incarceration and arrest rates.

While the state experienced steep declines in youth incarceration rates during California’s criminal justice reform era (2010-present), San Francisco had an unusually large decline in youth incarcerations. During that same period, as San Francisco put fewer youth behind bars, the city saw a decline in arrests of youth for violent crimes, outpacing statewide drops in violence by young people. Since 2010, San Francisco has augmented its drop in youth arrests to produce a much larger decline in youth incarcerations than occurred elsewhere in California. They have done this largely through policy changes that have made it less likely for a young person to be incarcerated if they come into contact with the law enforcement, with an emphasis on alternatives to incarceration. 

For example, a youth arrested in San Francisco in 2022 had a 41% lower chance of being incarcerated than a youth arrested there in 2010, while a youth arrested elsewhere in California was 133% more likely to be incarcerated in 2022 than in 2010. Rather than experience an increase in violent crimes by youth for these policy choices, the rate of violent crime by San Francisco youth continued to fall below the state average in 2021 – 2022.

The unusually large reductions in serious crime by San Francisco youth, assisted by city policies emphasizing alternatives to incarceration, has left the city’s diversified juvenile justice system in an ideal position to push forward with more innovation. Check out the full piece to read more on this analysis and to find our suggestions for new, innovative strategies San Francisco can adopt to bolster their progress in declining youth crime and arrests.

All Youth Are Sacred Regional Narrative Convenings

Group photo regional Northern California All Youth Are Sacred Convening 1.25.2024

Our regional convenings around the All Youth Are Sacred, Community Safety Through Youth Power framework are continuing this year by region. CJCJ was pleased to co-organize and attend events in Oakland and Stockton recently. Data from our Senior Research Fellow Mike Males, PhD. was presented on how youth crime across the state has been falling for decades. It is currently at historic lows, while probation budgets are increasing, with fewer youth being detained or supervised. The numbers spanning from the 1970’s‑2022 across the state are a direct challenge to the false narratives the media too often perpetuates that today’s youth are more dangerous or are committing more crimes and need to be further policed.

Invested community members, young leaders, and regional service providers came together to build relations and further develop shared strategies to combat these dangerous and false narratives about our youth.

Communication tactics and challenges were also explored in both convenings. In Stockton, we also took time to uplift Central California examples of what youth investment and power building work looks like on the ground, while in Oakland we took a deeper dive into community stakeholders and possible campaigns. Poetry was also shared at both events, reminding us of the importance of art to convey not only a message, but emotions as well. Thank you to all our attendees and co-organizers. It is an honor and a privilege to work with you all. Our next regional convening will be in Southern California in March. We look forward to being in attendance.

You can find more photos and some videos of our events on our Instagram page.

CJCJ State Partnerships

CJCJ’s Policy Analyst Grecia Reséndez and co-presenters Tatiana Lewis with Ella Baker Center (EBC) and Alissa Moore with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC)

Recently our policy analyst Grecia Reséndez assisted in a training inside of San Quentin State Prison. Members from the San Quentin Civic Engagement Group learned about the process of creating and passing a bill through the California legislative process. Grecia and her co-presenters Tatiana Lewis and Alissa Moore shared information on current bills that address issues of incarceration, public safety, and reentry. Powerful group conversations explored potential solutions to some of California’s most pressing issues.

Incarceration affects us all; laws passed around these issues affect the real people currently incarcerated and their loved ones, as well as those getting out with reentry services and support. It is imperative that we have the voices of those directly impacted involved in the process from start to finish to create a more just and safe future for all of us. We thank everyone involved in making this possible, especially the folks inside of San Quentin for taking part in these important discussions. We look forward to future trainings. This event was organized in partnership with the Ella Baker Center and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC).

NGF 2023 Cohort in Sacramento

Our Next Generation Fellowship (NGF) is currently reviewing applications for our 2024 cohort. NGF is leadership development and policy advocacy fellowship and training for emerging leaders across California who are formerly incarcerated and/​or have experienced another form of involvement in the justice system. The fellowship is co-facilitated by CJCJ and MILPA (Motivating Individual Leadership for Public Advancement) and focuses on advancing racial justice, cultural healing, and ending mass incarceration by promoting healthy, safe communities.

Fellows will leverage their personal and professional experiences to drive transformative change in the justice system. Over three 2‑day sessions, fellows will take part in culturally-relevant dialogues and activities. These will foster effective storytelling, civic participation, and strategic advocacy while recognizing their lived experience as a form of expertise that can influence policy-making and strengthen justice reform. Expect more info to come on NGF soon!