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San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin Announces Primary Caregiver Diversion Program

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Alex Bastian / (415) 314-4848 / Alex.Bastian@sfgov.org
Rachel Marshall / (415) 416-4468 / Rachel.Marshall@sfgov.org

Primary caregivers will be invited to participate in a diversion program aimed at breaking the generational cycle of incarceration 

SAN FRANCISCO – District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced today the implementation of a new state law aimed at keeping children united with their parents and ending a generational cycle of incarceration. 

SB 394, authored by Sen. Nancy Skinner and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October, created a diversion program for primary caregiver parents of minor children. Effective immediately, prosecutors in the San Francisco DA’s office will provide this diversion program as an option for eligible individuals to avoid the devastating trauma and instability caused by parental incarceration, while also ensuring accountability and rehabilitation for the accused. 

“I grew up visiting my parents behind bars. I know the kind of trauma the sudden loss of a parent can have on a child and the kind of resources that are needed to make that child whole again,” said District Attorney Chesa Boudin. “This is about taking responsibility, protecting the sanctity of the family, and ensuring innocent children are not condemned to repeat the mistakes of their parents.”

Eligible defendants can earn a dismissal through a rigorous diversion program that includes parenting classes. Incentivizing parents to care for their dependent children helps break the cycle of incarceration and keep our communities safer.

The effects of parental incarceration have also been disproportionately egregious to communities of color: 70% of children with incarcerated parents are black or brown, victimized both by their parents’ choices and society’s commitment to meting out the harshest possible punishments.

Under the state law, the following offenses will be eligible for primary caregiver diversion:

  • All misdemeanors are eligible.
  • All felonies are eligible except those described in penal code section 1192.7, 1192.8 or 667.5(c).
  • The crime for which the person is seeking diversion must not have been committed against the person for whom the accused is the primary caregiver.
  • The court must also be satisfied the accused does not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety if allowed to remain in the community.