In 2021 after decades of youth and family organizing, California finally closed the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Now, counties are responsible for “youth justice.” The state has distributed over $500 million in grants to local counties, including Alameda. It has been nearly 3 years since these funds began distribution according to young people, they still do not have access to improved services.

In this What We Need to Thrive: A Youth-Led Vision For A Just Alameda County, we asked the youth:

  • Where should these funds go?
  • Are youth receiving the support they need?
  • What services do they prioritize for youth justice in their county?
  • What has the county done since realignment funds first began flowing to Alameda in 2020?

This report aims to inform recommendations for a way forward. Overwhelmingly, our survey results indicate that youth support community services and alternatives to the criminal legal system – this is their vision of real youth justice. 

Through the work of EBC, Ceres Policy Research, and our partners, impacted youth and families are increasing their power to guide decision-making and shift Alameda County into a community-led model of youth justice. One that prioritizes restorative justice, healing, and opportunities for our youth.

Key recommendations in the Report:

  • Increase investment in community-based, trauma-informed youth development programs.
  • Address disparities in access to youth development programs.
  • Operate youth development and restorative justice programs independently from law enforcement.
  • Increase investment in meaningful employment opportunities for young people.
  • There needs to be further research and analysis on decriminalization and reducing law enforcement interactions with young people.

For questions regarding the report, please email [email protected].
For press inquiries, including all interview requests, please contact [email protected].