prison.jpgSome 40 percent of San Francisco’s inmates who were sent to state prison will soon return to the county’s jail and probation programs when recent California legislation goes into effect on Saturday.

District Attorney George Gascon and Supervisors Scott Wiener and Malia Cohen held a press conference today with law enforcement officials to announce a piece of local legislation addressing the realignment.

The legislation, the Sentencing Commission and Recidivism Reduction Ordinance, was introduced at the Board of Supervisors meeting this afternoon and, if passed, would create a disciplined committee to ensure the city’s criminal justice decisions are appropriate in light of changing conditions.

Under the new state legislation addressing overcrowding in state prisons, AB 109, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on April 4 and goes into effect on Oct. 1, state inmates convicted of nonviolent, non-serious offenses–as well as adult parolees and juvenile offenders–would return to local jurisdictions.

California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation estimates that realignment will return about 700 offenders back to San Francisco.

“Our world in the criminal justice system is going to be turned upside down,” Gascon said. “Realignment is challenging San Francisco to think differently and find creative solutions to reduce recidivism while prioritizing public safety.”

The commission, which would formalize meetings already occurring among existing members of the criminal justice system, aims to result in net savings for the city by encouraging sentencing strategies that reduce recidivism and prioritize public safety.

Wendy Still, chief of the city’s Adult Probation Department, said at the press conference that the city needs “to make sure we get the best outcome or the best return on investment for our criminal justice dollars.”

Gascon said the legislation and committee could stand to turn San Francisco into a model county in terms of criminal justice practices.

“We want to make sure that this has the full force of legislation at the county level,” Gascon said. “We want to make sure that we do it right.”

Patricia Decker, Bay City News

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