Creating Livable Communities and Ensuring Victims Are Made Whole
NCCD Blog
Creating Livable Communities and Ensuring Victims Are Made Whole
January 18, 2013   |  by George Gascón, District Attorney, City and County of San Francisco

George Gascón was elected as District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco after winning more than 62% of the vote. District Attorney Gascón was elected on a platform of reducing violent crime, protecting vulnerable victims, creating safer neighborhoods, and combating high school truancy. He is the former Chief of Police of San Francisco where he focused on reform, crime reduction and modernizing the department. He has pledged to make San Francisco the safest large city in America. Read more about District Attorney Gascón here.

 

I believe the most effective way to improve public safety in our communities is to prevent crime in the first place. Keeping young people from offending—or reoffending—is key to this strategy. But when young people do commit crimes, as district attorney I must balance prevention with addressing their behavior. Restorative justice does both.

We hear a lot about “restorative justice” in the criminal justice world these days. People use it to mean a lot of things; but at its core, restorative justice is bringing together those who have a stake in an offense to heal and make things as right as possible. In San Francisco, we have worked over the past year to infuse restorative justice into our Neighborhood Courts program for adults. In my conversations about Neighborhood Courts throughout the city, I often am asked about my plans to create a restorative justice model for San Francisco’s young people.

This past fall, I announced my office would lead an effort to create a youth restorative justice program for San Francisco to achieve two key results:

  • Reduce the disproportionate number of young people of color in the juvenile justice system.
  • Reduce the “school-to-prison pipeline,” where repeated school suspensions and expulsions lead young people to drop out of school and ultimately become victims and/or offenders.

I am pleased we have the honor to work with Sujatha Baliga and NCCD, with the support of the Zellerbach Family Foundation, as extraordinary partners in this work. In the coming months, we will join together as a city to build a juvenile restorative justice conferencing model tailored to the strengths and needs of San Francisco. This is yet another way we are safer, together.

 

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