About Paul Bocanegra

Paul Bocanegra
Paul was condemned to die in prison at the age of 17. He was a juvenile when he was arrested, and he was tried as an adult for a gang-related murder. As a former JLWOP (Juvenile, Life Without Parole), Paul served over twenty-five years in prison, more than twelve of those in solitary confinement. In 2015, he was one of the first few inmates to be re-sentenced under Senate Bill 9 (the Fair Sentencing for Youth Act), and he was re-sentenced to 29-to-life.

Paul is now free and alive and trying to cultivate change. He is a drug and alcohol counselor, a criminal justice reform advocate, and a San Mateo County Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Commissioner. Paul uses his education and experiences to advocate against violence, drugs, gangs, and discrimination. Paul asks why our society allows our governments to divide us, from San Mateo County’s key role in Japanese-American internment, to caging children at the U.S.-Mexican border, to destroying families through a racist criminal justice system.