Ending Girls Incarceration

Ending Girls Incarceration

Mid-City CAN's Ending Girls Incarceration Campaign

San Diego County is 1 of only 4 counties in California selected in May of 2023 to receive funding from the Office of Youth and Community Restoration (OYCR) to join the Ending Girls Incarceration (EGI) initiative. The San Diego County Probation department recently received the funding provided by OYCR to be part of this initiative in partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice. Vera Institute of Justice's EGI initiative aims to zero out the incarceration of girls and gender-expansive youth in the country’s juvenile legal system by 2030.

With a dramatic decrease of arrests and incarceration in the past 10 years and changes in local practices and policies, there are about 50 girls incarcerated in San Diego County despite a small post-pandemic peak. Data shows that most youth reoffend within 3 years and are more likely to be arrested as adults. Finding further alternative solutions to incarceration is a way to decrease recidivism and increase health in our communities.

Key organizations

Vera Institute of Justice

Mission: To end the overcriminalization and mass incarceration of people of color, immigrants, and people experiencing poverty.

Vision: Safe, healthy, empowered communities and a fair, accountable justice system.
Background: Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. With offices in four major cities, and a team of hundreds of advocates, researchers, and policy experts, they work to transform the criminal legal and immigration system so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are incarcerated; and everyone behind bars is treated with dignity.

Office of Youth and Community Restoration (OYCR)

Mission: OYCR promotes trauma responsive, culturally informed, gender honoring, and developmentally appropriate services for youth involved in the juvenile justice system that support the youths’ successful transition into adulthood.
Vision: The OYCR vision of youth justice is one that is framed by accountability and healing rather than punishment, and has been driven by on-the-ground advocates, researchers and probation departments, along with policy, funding, and practice changes, working together to make this new vision of youth justice a reality.
Background: OYCR is guiding the transition from state-run youth incarceration to county care by identifying and sharing best practices to help inform rehabilitative and restorative youth support and offering technical assistance to advise those in the space on how to achieve outcomes and system improvements for youth across the justice system. OYCR was established in July 2021 through SB 823 (Chapter 337, Statutes of 2020).

Networking Night

Young Women's Freedom Center

Mission: The Mission of the Young Women’s Freedom Center (dba Freedom Center) is to provide fiscal sponsorship, operational support, coaching, and training to projects that center systems-impacted women, girls, and trans people of all genders with the primary purpose to inspire and empower young women who have been involved in the juvenile justice system, criminal justice system, and/or the underground street economy to create a positive change in their lives and communities. We meet young people where they’re at: on the streets, in jails and detention centers, and in the neighborhoods and communities where we live. Together, we build our personal and collective power, heal from trauma, advocate on behalf of ourselves and each other, and gain access to education and work to transform the conditions, systems, and policies that lead to intergenerational cycles of violence, incarceration, and poverty.
Vision: A world in which all young women and trans youth of all genders have the support they need to recognize and end all forms of oppression, to heal, and to live self-determined lives.

Background: For more than 30 years, Young Women’s Freedom Center has provided support, mentorship, training, employment, and advocacy to young women and trans youth of all genders in California who have grown up in poverty, experienced the juvenile legal and foster care systems, have had to survive living and working on the streets, and who have experienced significant violence in their lives.

San Diego Probation Department

Mission: Through Probation team members and client-centered partnerships, we will stand in our values and become innovative through evidence-based and best practices in continuum of care, supervision, accountability, and a restorative practice philosophy within a culture of caring in promoting public safety.
Vision: To provide the highest quality of service through a continuum of services, family and community engagement, restorative practices, and employee-focused enrichment.
Background: The County of San Diego Probation Department is an organization of highly skilled individuals with a shared mission to protect public safety by supporting their clients to restore their lives, families, and communities. Our team of more than one thousand San Diegans are dedicated to providing services while balancing support and accountability.

Chairwoman Vargas to Support Ending Girls Incarceration initiative


Exciting news from Mid-City CAN's Ending Girls Incarceration (EGI) campaign: Juvenile Justice Organizer Manuel along with EGI team members Jasmin, Emilio and Policy Advisor Belen met with San Diego County Chairwoman Nora Vargas on March 6 and the supervisor agreed to be a champion for the initiative! "We are looking forward to working with Chairwoman Vargas and her staff on supporting the Ending Girls Incarceration initiative at the county level," said Manuel.

The EGI team had two asks for Chairwoman Vargas:  

The first was "Will you be a champion for Ending Girls Incarceration and prioritize the formation of a task force that incorporates community representation (Service providers, advocates and youth with lived experience as well as their families)? 

The second: Will you introduce a board letter directing probation to commit to the data transparency and establishing the task force?"

Vargas said yes to the first ask and our EGI team and the chair will work together to create a board letter.

Great progress made by the EGI team! Thank you Chairwoman Vargas for being a champion for EGI!

Deputy Chief Probation Officer Visits Juvenile Justice Team

Our Juvenile Justice team had a special guest at the October 26, 2023 meeting.

Thank you to Deputy Chief Probation Officer Tabatha Wilburn who is with the County of San Diego for stopping by to talk to our Juvenile Justice Momentum Team! Wilburn has been employed with the San Diego County Probation Department for over 20 years and has been assigned to both adult and juvenile divisions, with much of her service being juvenile focused.

The mission of San Diego County Juvenile Probation is to fully support youth and their families with evidence-based practices that focus on rehabilitation, healing and positive youth development.

Wilburn has had diverse probation assignments that include working with youth clients in juvenile facilities and also in placement for dual youth, working in investigations, supervision, and drug court units, and serving as a probation department trainer.

Thank you, Tabatha, for joining us! View photos by visiting our Flickr page.

Juvenile Justice

📷: Guadalupe Rojas, Mid-City CAN

Networking Night focuses on Ending Girls Incarceration

EGI Networking Night

City Heights residents packed the room and filled it with love, energy, passion, and so much more during an amazing Networking Night on September 21. Community members heard from panelists who ended girls incarceration in Santa Clara County and others seeking to do the same in California counties. The crowd was moved by panelist Leslie, a youth who shared her story of a tough life, going from system to system and never experiencing love throughout her childhood. Thanks to her mentor, panelist Analisa from the Young Women's Freedom Center, Leslie turned her life around, will soon graduate from high school, and is now helping troubled female youth as a Community Organizer at the center.

Panelists Marcia and Ramon from the Office of Youth and Community Restoration (OYCR) talked about youth incarceration and how many of them are still locked up despite low-level offenses. "The United States is the country that incarcerates the most people in the whole world. The fact that we have a lot of black and brown and native kids sitting in these facilities and now Asian kids, is no mistake. It's been so intentional," said Marcia. She explained research has shown that youth incarceration doesn't work. When youth incarceration facilities are shut down, the funding for these facilities are given to their office. OYCR then sends these funds to Community Based Organizations "to do the work that they know (to help youth). This is what we need," she said.


It was a special night as everyone enjoyed networking, hearing stories of redemption, appreciating each other, and enjoying food and the ice-breaker game together. Juvenile Justice organizer Manuel and Youth Council and Juvenile Justice team member Karlita did an exceptional job as co-moderators. Many thanks to our panelists, community members and Mid-City CAN staff for making Networking Night a memorable one. As promised, here's a link to the presentation materials, SB 274 Floor Alert and agenda. Click here to view the photo album for Ending Girls Incarceration. If you missed the event, click here to view Instagram Live and here to watch the IG Reel. Please take a moment to help end defiance suspensions by calling Governor Gavin Newson's office and asking him to sign SB 274 (during business hours). Find script and call details here.