SF Sentencing Commission issues recommendations on modernizing justice system 

The San Francisco Sentencing Commission released its first report today with several recommendations intended to improve both the local and state justice systems.

By working to implement the changes, “We can truly modernize our justice system to meet the needs of the 21st century,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.

The five recommendations in the 2013 report were developed after four meetings last year with presentations from experts in sentencing, realignment, restorative justice, drug reform and victim services.

On the state level, the commission calls for sentencing reform; specifically, creating a sentencing commission for California and reducing the penalty for drug possession for personal use from a felony to a misdemeanor.

At the local level, the commission recommends “practical” investments to support The City’s sentencing strategies. Those efforts include establishing annual sentencing data review and investing in adequate support resources. Other suggested measures are expanding resources for alternative sentencing strategies and investing in pre-charging and pre-booking diversion programs for drug offenses.

“Because sentencing strategies are not consistent across the state of California, criminal justice agencies and social service partners have a collective responsibility to ensure that individuals receive appropriate sentences and do not re-victimize our communities,” Gascón said in the statement.

The commission — created in 2011 in response to a state law that put county jails instead of state prisons in charge of most criminal offenders — plans to conduct four meetings throughout this year and issue reports on an annual basis.

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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