Donate Now

About Us

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 the 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 Juvenile Hall. The Beat printed its first publication following the murder of rapper Tupac Shakur when young people sought ways to express 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 60 pages and printed bi-weekly.

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

We are a Member of Intersection for the Arts. Intersection provides resources, community and cultural space in order to contribute to the sustainable practices of artists and arts organizations the San Francisco Bay Area. Through Intersection is San Francisco’s oldest alternative arts space, providing fiscal sponsorship, networking, consulting and presenting opportunities to artists. Visit