Centerforce is a leading reentry service provider in the San Francisco Bay Area, serving people with a history of incarceration, their families, and communities. We provide evidence-based programs that exemplify reentry best practices, and have done so for over 40 years. Founded in 1977 to provide shelter to loved ones visiting prisoners at San Quentin, Centerforce now provides a broad range of services during incarceration, reentry, and after release.
We work with correctional entities, probation departments, other non-profits and research institutions to design, implement and evaluate programs that support communities impacted by incarceration. Centerforce is one of a handful of community-based service providers to offer a continuum of services pre and post-release, with expertise in working inside both jails and prisons.
Our programs include:
When one member of a community is incarcerated, the entire community suffers; we therefore strive to improve the lives of individuals impacted by incarceration, their families, and their communities.
To support, educate, and advocate for individuals, families and communities impacted by incarceration.
"When I was a resident of San Quentin State Prison, Centerforce provided me the opportunity to learn leadership skills through training to be a Peer Health Educator. I learned how to be considerate, respectful, understanding and supportive to others in teaching the causes, effects and symptoms of HIV, AIDS, STDs, and Hepatitis C."
"I have been working very hard to become closer to my daughter since I have been home, the Centerforce events we attended helped to strengthen that bond. We laughed, we played, and best of all we talked. I hope that Centerforce will continueto be able to afford these opportunities for other individuals and their families."
“I am grateful to Centerforce for working with me during my time in jail. To be honest, I didn’t know where to go for medical services in the community, and I always end up in the emergency room -- but now I can have my own primary care doctor so I do not end up in the emergency again. Thank you for reaching out to me.”
We receive valuable financial support from the Alameda County and Contra Costa Probation Departments, as well as the Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services Department.
We have a long history of partnering with industry to support improved health outcomes for individuals with incarceration histories. Our former collaborators include HIV and HCV pharmaceutical partnerships.
Centerforce has been a leader in community collaborative research projects to develop evidence-based models of interventions to support improved health outcomes and successful reentry post incarceration.
We also accept individual contributions to support our dynamic programming and to allow us to respond to opportunities to provide responsive services that may not be funded by existing contracts and grants.
Dolores Lyles has over 30 years of experience in the Human Services field providing direct client services, program design and implementation and organizational administration. She has been with Centerforce since 2008, has served as Transitional Services Program Manager, Children & Family Services Regional Program Manager, and in 2016 became the Interim Executive Director overseeing all aspects of Centerforce’s programs, operations and finances.
Mary Sylla, JD, MPH, has 20 years’ experience focused on incarceration and health. She has advocated for prisoners’ rights including access to HIV treatment and prevention, at AIDS Project Los Angeles and the ACLU of Southern California. She worked with Centerforce in 2005, and returned in 2017 to serve as Centerforce’s Fund Development Director, focused on funding and capacity building.
Shana Lynch is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC-II) and has 6 years of experience working in substance abuse treatment. She has provided counseling for individuals suffering from addiction and co-occurring disorder and has been with Centerforce since early 2018 as a Case Manager for our Substance Use Disorder Program serving homeless women in Alameda County.
Alana Russaw, Psy.D., has over 8 years’ experience in public health and mental health social services, working in jails and the community providing case management and mental health services, including as a clinical psychologist. She has a particular passion for work with those who have suffered sexual abuse or domestic violence. She has been with Centerforce since 2013, and now serves as the Program Manager of Centerforce Youth Court.
Abayomi Brame has over 10 years of experience in parenting education and over 25 years’ experience in HIV and health education social services. He has been with Centerforce since 2009, has served as program facilitator working in San Quentin State Prison and the Santa Rita Jails and is now the Fatherhood Program Coordinator.
Lorenzo Parham has 7 years’ experience in the social service field, including work in group homes throughout Alameda County and as a case manager of Transition Age Youth in homeless shelters. He has been with Centerforce since early 2016, and serves as a Fatherhood Coach and Youth Court Case Manager.
Jennifer Guardado, BA, has worked with at-risk and undocumented individuals seeking legal advice and representation, including at the ACLU of Southern California and Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland, since 2013. She has been with Centerforce since 2017, as a Youth Court Case Manager engaging her passion for preventing at-risk youth from encountering with the juvenile justice system, and saving them from a potential string of consequences later in their lives.
Darnell Hill has been with Centerforce since 2012, beginning as a Prisoner Peer Health Educator at San Quentin State Prison. Darnell was active in S.Q.U.I.R.E.S (San Quentin Inmate Resources Experience Studies) -- featured on A&E’s "Beyond Scared Straight" and on the Dr. Phil show -- worked as a re-entry facilitator, and was Chairman of San Quentin T.R.U.S.T Health Fair. Darnell is now a Fatherhood Coach and Case Manager.
Cynthia Zabala has over 17 years of experience in the field of Addiction and Case Management and holds a State Certification in Substance Abuse. She is passionate about helping individuals recover from addiction, and from the impacts of incarceration. She been with Centerforce since 2014 and is now a Fatherhood Coach.
Lacreena Williams is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor I (CADC-I), and has provided case management services for over 5 years, including four years hands-on experience working with individuals with mild to severe mental illness and one year with traumatized foster youth. She has been with Centerforce since early 2016 and is currently the Program Manager of Centerforce Substance Use Disorder Program, serving homeless women in Alameda County.
Michael Davis served on the Executive Body of the CDCR’s Men’s Advisory Council from 2013-2017 and facilitated self-help groups in custody including Anger Management, Criminals and Gang Members Anonymous, and Restorative Justice. With Centerforce since early 2018 as a Fatherhood Coach, Michael is extremely passionate about working with individuals impacted by incarceration and childhood trauma, and is also an accomplished writer with novels in publication.
Mary Holloway is a former Administrator Supervisor in the Chemical Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and has been with Centerforce since January 2018 as an Administrative Assistant supporting all our programs.