UPM youth leaders have been an integral part of an effort in Alameda County to educate voters and community members about the power and discretion of the District Attorney to either further the system of mass incarceration or create policies and practices that disrupt the current system and push both youth and adults towards alternatives to incarceration!! The DA’s Office has so much decision making power and in many ways they function like the gate-keepers of the criminal justice system.
UPM youth members and our partners conducted community outreach (through phoning and door knocking) reaching thousands of community members, helped to lead 3 town hall meetings engaging over 1000 community members, and participated in a series of research meetings with the likes of the SF County DA, the two DA Candidates for Alameda County, the Alameda County Public Defender, the Presiding Juvenile Judge, and various other advocates and systems leaders. Through this work, youth from UPM along with our community partners in the Justice Reinvestment Coalition have won agreements from the DA’s Office to lower probation terms and to cease prosecuting youth for misdemeanors. Additionally Alameda County DA Nancy O’Malley has agreed to meet with us regularly in order to work through further systems change efforts and to report out data to the community about changes that have already taken place.