Decarceration of young women & girls

YWFC is ending the incarceration of cis and trans young women and gender-expansive young people in Santa Clara County, in partnership with County and community-based partners. We are building an ecosystem and community-based alternative model that supports justice-involved youth in reaching their full potential, accessing economic opportunities, and becoming agents of change in their own lives, families, and communities. In serving as a diversion and re-entry site for the County’s goal of ending incarceration of girls and young women, our work provides a statewide blueprint for decarceration and decriminalization for communities most impacted by mass incarceration. 

Initiatives: 

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  • Ending Incarceration for Cis and Trans Young Women and Gender-Expansive Young People: YWFC launched our initiative to End the Incarceration of Girls & Young Women in Santa Clara County (SCC) in collaboration with the SCC Office of Women’s Policy, Probation and Juvenile Court. Together, we are developing a countywide diversion and re-entry model and referral system. As members of the SCC Gender Responsive Task Force, we are identifying specific policies, administrative procedures, probation requirements, policing practices and sentencing patterns resulting in high levels of recidivism and probation failure for young women and gender-expansive youth. 
  • Self-Determined Advocacy & Healing: After stabilizing and receiving immediately needed support and services, participants are assigned a self-determination advocate to partner in designing a self-determined life plan.
  • Lift Us Up, Don’t Lock Us Down: Develops emerging leadership from young people inside the juvenile and adult prisons, including court accompaniment, advocacy, systems navigation, release and re-entry planning, personal transformation and healing. 
  • Freedom Circles – Circulares: Grounded in self-determination, positive peer relationships and relationships with caring adults, our weekly, two-hour Freedom Circles provide healing and support for young people navigating to stay out of the system. 
  • Diversion Site: Though YWFC has always been a community-based alternative to incarceration, Santa Clara County will be the first county-sanctioned diversion site towards the shared goal of decarceration and will provide a model for our other sites as well as across the state.