Darlene Luca is the Southern California Regional Program Manager for California Justice Leaders, which provides training and leadership opportunities to people with prior involvement in the justice system to become credible messengers and provide reentry coaching and navigation to other justice-involved young people.
Darlene was born and raised in Los Angeles and is proud of her Guatemalan and Filipino roots. Her commitment and passion for working with communities impacted by the carceral system stem from her own experience of incarceration. For the last 20 years, Darlene has worked to shift the narrative of what formerly incarcerated person looks like and what they can accomplish. Darlene graduated in the second cohort of the Independent Forensic Gang College through Loyola Marymount University. She has held multiple roles as a reentry professional and draws from the lessons she has learned from the men and women she’s met over the years to continue to help other returning citizens.
Before working at Impact Justice, she oversaw the Reentry program at Defy Ventures, assisting individuals as they transitioned back into their communities from incarceration across Southern California. She was also a founding member of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. She went on to work as a life coach in the housing program, providing case management and mentorship to returning citizens. As an advocate for criminal and youth justice reform, alongside Human Rights Watch Senior Advocate, Elizabeth Calvin, Darlene was involved in policy-making efforts to help pass historic legislative bills for juvenile and adult youthful offenders in California. Over the years she has worked with various community programs such as InsideOUT Writers, Mass Liberation, and the Harold Robinson Foundation. She values the power of hope, healing, and forgiveness and believes that redemption is achievable.