YWFC’s advocacy has resulted in systems change toward decriminalization and decarceration of young people and investing in community-based alternatives.
In SF, YWFC partnered with three Supervisors and passed legislation to close Juvenile Hall by December 2021. YWFC is participating in a citywide committee and leading a community process to identify alternatives through YWFC’s Re-Imagining Justice campaign. In Santa Clara County YWFC is partnering with the County on an initiative to end the incarceration of girls. In Alameda County YWFC is working to stop plans to invest $75 million in building a new juvenile justice “camp.” In addition to systems change and legislative work, YWFC hosts Participatory Defense hubs in San Francisco and Alameda County and participate in existing hubs in San Jose and Los Angeles. These hubs organize people facing sentencing and their families and loved ones to reduce or eliminate years served.
At a statewide level YWFC is partnering with State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) reintroduced SB 42, the “Getting Home Safe Act,” to curtail dangerous, dead-of-night releases from county jails. The was created in response to the tragic death of Jessica St. Louis (who was one of her constituents and a YWFC member). She was released from Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail at 1:25 in the morning on July 28th, 2018 and found dead 3 hours later on her way to the BART station. In partnership with State Senator Holly Mitchell, YWFC also drafted The Jail FACTS Act, SB 555. The bill will reduce the heavy financial burden placed on the families and support systems of incarcerated individuals. SB 555 aims to eliminate the exorbitant costs of communications and regulate the prices for goods sold inside county jails, and require that profits made from these services are reinvested to support people incarcerated in California County Jails, as well as their transition back into their communities.
Our legislative and base building work will be supported and expanded by our ten-year political organizing, culture change and legislative campaign led by formerly incarcerated and systems involved girls, women and TGNC people.
#MeTooBehindBars combines legal action, public exposure and community organizing against gender-based violence at the hands of California’s prison system, specifically women’s prisons (CIW in Southern California and CCWF in the Central Valley). The organizing was started by women and TGNC inside of CCWF who started to document incidents of gender-based violence and harassment by guards against queer and transgender people in the prison. Upon being challenged and discovering that there has been documentation, the guards organized a brutal attack on the organizers during which they perpetrated brutal acts of violence and explicit sexist, homophobic and transphobic hate speech, threats and taunts. Immediately following the attack, CCWP began organizing with those inside and reached out to movement lawyers through the National Lawyers Guild who took on the case. A year later the lawsuit added another brutal assault by CCWF guards against a TGNC prisoner. In parallel with the lawsuit, YWFC and CCWP are partnering with the plaintiffs in prison and upon release, as well as other formerly and currently incarcerated people who have survived gender-based violence of prison, to build a political campaign.