Author Kent Mendoza

Kent Mendoza

Kent Mendoza was born in Mexico but migrated to the United States at the age of six and was raised in Los Angeles County. Being in a foreign country, poor and with no father, he was quickly exposed to gangs, drugs, and violence. He joined a gang at the age of fourteen which led to his incarceration at 15 and served time in a probation camp. At the age of 17, he was tried as an adult for a crime he didn’t commit and was facing a prison life sentence. Fortunately, Kent beat it and instead was sent to California’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and served an overall 5 years incarcerated. Kent’s story saved him when he spoke to an Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent who believed in him and was then released from incarceration on April 9th, 2014. Kent is a youth justice expert, mentor community organizer, activist, artist, writer, motivational speaker, and filmmaker. He is the Associate Director of Local Policy at the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) where he first started off as the Member and Community Engagement Coordinator in 2016. Prior to ARC, Kent worked at the LA Area Chamber of Commerce on smart justice issues from 2014 to 2016. He still serves and was appointed to the State Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (SACJJDP) by Governor J. Brown in 2016. Kent has also served on the Los Angeles Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council (JJCC) since 2018. He worked with the W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI) on the publishing and implementation of the LA County's Youth Justice Reimagined (YJR) and Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Alternative Team reports and vision that led to the first ever Department of Youth Development (DYD) since 2020. Lastly, Kent is a Represent Justice Alumni and filmmaker of two films, short animated film title, “Chasing The Mexican Dream" and a short documentary about his life and work, “A Million Dollar Cage."