San Francisco looks for ways to deal with influx of inmates 

click to enlarge San Francisco officials say they want to create a commission to discuss dealing with the hundreds of newly freed inmates that will be coming into The City over the next year. (Getty Images file photo) - SAN FRANCISCO OFFICIALS SAY THEY WANT TO CREATE A COMMISSION TO DISCUSS DEALING WITH THE HUNDREDS OF NEWLY FREED INMATES THAT WILL BE COMING INTO THE CITY OVER THE NEXT YEAR. (GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO)
  • San Francisco officials say they want to create a commission to discuss dealing with the hundreds of newly freed inmates that will be coming into The City over the next year. (Getty Images file photo)
  • San Francisco officials say they want to create a commission to discuss dealing with the hundreds of newly freed inmates that will be coming into The City over the next year. (Getty Images file photo)

About 650 new prison inmates are coming to San Francisco over the next year, and many of them won’t be behind bars.

Hoping to push successful rehabilitation strategies not involving incarceration, San Francisco officials announced Tuesday that they want to create a new commission to discuss the issues.

If passed, new legislation introduced at the Board of Supervisors  meeting would create the Sentencing Commission, which will discuss how The City should deal with the offenders it takes in under the state’s so-called realignment process beginning Saturday.

The state budget plan is aimed at unclogging the California prison system and putting the remaining task of housing and rehabilitating inmates on local jurisdictions.

“It all runs downhill from Sacramento,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener, who is supporting the new commission.
District Attorney George Gascón said the primary goal of the commission is to reduce The City’s “untenable” 77 percent recidivism rate with methods other than jail, such as GPS monitoring.

“This is not about being soft on crime,” Gascón said. “We need to understand what will work and we don’t have those answers.”

If passed in its current form, the Sentencing Commission would consist of 13 or 14 appointed staff members from offices including the district attorney, public defender, the Sheriff’s Department, the Police Department and the Department of Public Health.

Earlier this month, supervisors unanimously approved the local realignment plan and the allocation of $5.7 million in state funds to help pay the cost of the new inmates. Initial projections indicate 225 of the state inmates will end up in county jail, while 421 nonviolent offenders will live in communities with some form of supervision.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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Dan Schreiber

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