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Sentencing Commission

Sentencing CommissionThe San Francisco Sentencing Commission, an initiative of the District Attorney’s Office, was created through local legislation to analyze sentencing patterns and outcomes, to advise the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, and other City departments on the best approaches to reduce recidivism, and to make recommendations for sentencing reforms that advance public safety and utilize best practices in criminal justice. Ultimately through this work the commission will make recommendations that establish a sentencing system that retains meaningful judicial discretion, avoids unwarranted disparity, recognizes the most efficient and effective use of correctional resources, and provides a meaningful array of sentencing options. Over the course of the next two years the Sentencing Commission will:

  • Evaluate effective and appropriate sentences for the most violent offenders.
  • Explore opportunities for drug law reform.
  • Examine inconsistencies in the penal code related to realignment sentencing.
  • Identify and define the most important factors that reduce recidivism.

Click here for Meeting Schedules, Agendas and Materials, Reports and Relevant Publications.

Authorizing Legislation

The Sentencing Commission was created County Ordinance 10-12 which amended the San Francisco Administrative Code by adding Article 25, Sections 5.250 through 5.250-3. The Sentencing Commission is an advisory body to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors. The powers and duties of the Sentencing Commission include:

  • Review and assess sentencing approaches locally and compare to other jurisdictions.
  • Review and assess the City’s capacity and utilization of services and alternatives to incarceration throughout the criminal justice continuum, including pre-adjudication and post-release.
  • Review and assess the Justice Reinvestment Initiative recommendations to invest in best practices to reduce recidivism.
  • Develop a recommended system of uniform definitions of recidivism for City departments to track and report on the outcomes of various criminal sentences and City programs meant to aid in reducing recidivism.
  • Develop data collection standards and recidivism reporting standards.
  • Develop and recommend department specific goals to reduce recidivism for the City departments represented on the Sentencing Commission, and other relevant City departments. 
  • Make recommendations regarding changes that should be made to the Penal Code and any other state laws to remove barriers to effective implementation of best practices in criminal justice.
  • Facilitate trainings on best practices in sentencing for various criminal justice agencies. 
  • Share information and work in collaboration with the Reentry Council, established pursuant to the San Francisco Administrative Code, and the Community Corrections Partnership, as established by the California Penal Code.

List of member seats:

District Attorneys' Office, Public Defender’s Office, Adult Probation Department, Juvenile Probation Department, Sheriff’s Department, Police Department, Department of Public Health, Reentry Council, Superior Court, Member of a nonprofit org serving victims chosen by the Family Violence Council, Member of non-profit org working with ex-offenders chosen by the Reentry Council, Sentencing Expert chosen by the Board of Supervisors, and an Academic Researcher with expertise in data analysis appointed by the Mayor.

The membership of the commission was developed to ensure representation from city and county partners directly involved in the criminal justice system and those who come in contact with it. In addition to this practical and service experience the commission includes experts in sentencing and statistical analysis. These are essential components to the commission membership and will contribute to the development of sustainable improvements to our sentencing practices. While this membership will serve as a core of the Sentencing Commission’s work we will invite broader participation to present to and inform the proceedings of the commission.

Appointing Authority & Qualifications Necessary

Agencies & Bodies  Member
District Attorneys' Office George Gascón, District Attorney
Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Public Defender
Adult Probation Wendy Still, Adult Probation Chief
Juvenile Probation Allen Nance, Juvenile Probation Chief
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, Sheriff
Police Greg Suhr, Police Chief
Department of Public Health Barbara Garcia, Director
Reentry Council Karen Roye, Director Child Support Services
Superior Court* Cynthia Ming-mei Lee, Presiding Judge
Member of a nonprofit org
serving victims chosen by the

Family Violence Council
Jerel McCrary
Managing Attorney
Bay Area Legal Aid
Member of non-profit org
working with ex-offenders chosen by
the
Reentry Council
Catherine McCracken
Sentencing Services Program Director
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
Sentencing Expert chosen by
the Board of Supervisors
Theshia Naidoo
Senior Staff Attorney
Drug Policy Alliance
Academic Researcher with
expertise in data analysis appointed
by the Mayor
Steven Raphael PhD
Professor
Goldman School of Public Policy
University of California Berkeley


Meetings

The Sentencing Commission has held three meetings since formation. Full agendas and meeting minutes are available at http://www.sfdistrictattorney.org/. Meeting dates and key activities are provided below.

 August 8, 2012

  • Adopted Sentencing Commission By-Laws
  • Reviewed Mission, Powers and Duties
  • Reviewed Two Year Work Plan Draft
December 12, 2012
Reviewed:
  • January 2008- June 2011 Data on Adult Arrest Activity in San Francisco
  • Superior Court 1992-2011 Data on Felony Sentencing
  • Sentencing Legislation before the California State Legislature 2013 Session
  • Juvenile Probation Department 2007-2011 data on referrals and petitions
  • Resources for Sentencing Commission research

April 3, 2013
Reviewed:

  • National Summary of Successful Sentencing Reform
  • California Realignment Sentencing Trends
  • San Francisco Sentencing Trends
  • San Francisco Alternative Sentencing Planner Program
  • Current Realignment Research

July 24, 2013
Reviewed:

  • Earned Compliance Credits
  • California Drug Law and Local Practice
  • Drug Policy Options
  • Seattle based Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program

Remaining 2013 Meetings:

October 16, 2013
December 11, 2013

Commitment to Data Analysis

During the August 8, 2012 inaugural meeting of the Sentencing Commission, members unanimously expressed a commitment to use accessible and credible data to drive the decision making and priorities of the Commission’s work. Accessible and credible data not only provides common information for all members to guide prioritization and decision making, it also provides the opportunity to communicate progress and success; and the opportunity to educate the public. As a result of this commitment, the December 12, 2012 meeting of the Sentencing Commission included several presentations on local adult and juvenile sentencing trends, and the April 3, 2013 meeting presentations focused on state and local realignment sentencing and supervision trends.         
Last updated: 12/18/2013 3:43:15 PM