Criminal Justice Council: Women and Gangs

Criminal Justice Council: Women and Gangs

Gangs Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comBy Supervisor Zach Friend

Gangs Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comThe Criminal Justice Council of Santa Cruz County (CJC) was created over thirty years ago in an effort to provide increased coordination and cooperation between criminal justice partners — government, non-profit, educational and others — to reduce youth involvement in gangs.

The CJC focuses discussions on prevention and intervention as well as reentry programs — rather than simply a suppression model.

This year, the CJC decided to focus our efforts (and upcoming conference) on an issue that is rarely addressed by local communities: the role of women and girls in gangs. Most intervention and prevention programs are focused on young men, but young women also play a role in gang activity — even if that role seems to be more on the periphery.

The CJC is hosting a conference on September 27th from 8 am — Noon at Twin Lakes Church for criminal justice providers and community service providers featuring experts on the role of women and girls in gangs as well as a panel of young women with lived experience in gangs.

Dr. Tara Sutton from Mississippi State University will provide a keynote discussion highlighting her work on this subject and the panel of young women, all from the greater Bay Area, will discuss their roles in gangs and successful ways to prevent such involvement for others.

If you are a local criminal justice or community service provider that works in this field and you’re interested in attending this free event you can visit the link: to register.

Where does the CJC meet?

The CJC meets quarterly and these meetings are open to the public. Meetings are generally held beginning at 3 pm at the Sheriff’s Office Community Room in Live Oak but have been held at the County Office of Education in Santa Cruz and the Community Foundation in Aptos.

More information about meetings can be found on the CJC’s website at or by calling my office (information below).

Who is on the CJC?

A wide variety of community public safety partners serve on the CJC. Local police chiefs, the County Sheriff, the Chief Probation Officer, District Attorney, leadership of two local non-profits, two local judges, the public defender, the County Superintendent of Schools, the President of Cabrillo College, two County Supervisors, elected representatives from the local cities and more participate.

It’s a diverse group that, having participation from local education and non-profit social program providers, helps create discussions beyond just backend suppression activity toward front-end prevention opportunities.

I currently serve as the chair of the CJC as a representative of the County. If you have any questions about the CJC, or any other matters in our district, please don’t hesitate to stop by my office hours in Aptos at the new Aptos Public Safety Center (in Aptos Village) or in Watsonville, Corralitos or Seascape.


You can also call me at 454-2200.

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