San Francisco Realignment : A Well Resourced Traditional Model

The San Francisco Model: San Francisco has adopted a model that places almost all the responsibility for AB109 realignment participants on social services, criminal justice, and community agencies. The courts have almost no role in this model, except for the court’s tradition adjudicatory role of sentencing offenders and hearing revocation petitions.The City & County of San Francisco Public Safety Realignment & Post-Release Community Supervision 2012 Implementation Plan was passed on June 1, 2012. [click on image on the right , for a copy of the plan]

The San Francisco Model is one that clearly takes a community based approach to felon rehabilitation, with the city and county of San Francisco providing special resources to deal with the offender. San Francisco has a large, highly experienced and educated cadre of intervention specialists, both in the community, as well as in social service, public health and criminal justice agencies. They are using the court in a strictly traditional fashion, solely in its adjudicatory role. (Interestingly, as of March 30, approximately 2/3 of felons sentenced for new offenses under 1170H of the Realignment Statute, were sentenced to jail, without community supervision)

Probation has taken the lead in developing the Implementation plan, as is required by statute, with Chief Probation Officer Wendy Still chairing the Community Corrections Partnership. Prisoners returning to the community under Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) are pre-assessed at their prison facility approximately two months before returning to San Francisco. Once released under PRCS, offenders are screened at Probation’s new Community Assessment and Social Services Center, a one stop hub, where participants have their housing, drug and alcohol treatment, health, psychological, job, education, and other needs assessed and allocated. Probation has also  created a special team to provide supervision and case management to the participants.

The Sheriff’s Department  has the resources to assess and provide additional services to AB109 felons in custody.  A special Realignment Pod is being prepared for participating felons.There are plans for prisoners to be returned to the jail two months before their prison term ends, for a pre-release process to prepare the felon for release into the community..Similarly both the Public Defender and District Attorney’s Offices  have resources to work with this special population. Finally San Francisco has a wealth of non-profit and other community organizations that are enthusiastic about assisting the reintegration of this new population into the community.

The San Francisco Realignment Plan is a traditional realignment plan in regards to the role of the court, relying on the community itself and relevant government agencies to successfully rehabilitate those placed in jail as felons under 1170H,  or those returned to the community under PRCS. What makes this plan noteworthy, is the commitment of the community and the resources available to accomplish their mission.

[published; October. 2012]


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