Our Mission

The Beat Within's mission is to provide incarcerated youth with consistent opportunity to share their ideas and life experiences in a safe space that encourages literacy, self-expression, some critical thinking skills, and healthy, supportive relationships with adults and their community. Outside of the juvenile justice system, The Beat Within partners with community organizations and individuals to bring resources to youth both inside and outside of detention. We are committed to being an effective bridge between youth who are locked up and the community that aims to support their progress towards a healthy, non-violent, and productive life.

Brief Organizational History

The Beat Within was founded in San Francisco, (1996) when David Inocencio, former assistant director of Detention Diversion Advocacy Program, teamed up with Pacific News Service, a non-profit media/communications organization, to offer writing workshops to youth detained in San Francisco's Youth Guidance Center (YGC). The Beat printed it's first publication following the murder of rapper Tupac Shakur when young people sought ways to publicize their intense feelings of loss. Originally, their work was printed in a 6-page magazine, which was brought back to them the following week. For some, it was the first positive recognition they ever received that they had a voice worthy of an audience. Today, the magazine is 80 pages and printed bi-weekly.

Today, The Beat Within staff and volunteers serve over 5,000 youth annually through workshops operated in 13 California county juvenile halls: Alameda, Fresno, Marin, Monterey, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Riverside, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Outside of California, Beat workshops occur in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Hawaii, Oregon and in Washington, DC. The Beat Within has partnered with education and criminal justice programs at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Hawaii, the University of Redlands, and Portland State University.

P.O. Box 34310
San Francisco, CA 94134
or call 415-890-5461

The Beat Within is a program of the Youth Law Center, a 501C3 with non-profit status. Our tax ID number is 94-1715280