Harvard awards SF sheriff’s department program, gifts $100k

A San Francisco Sheriff’s Department program was named the recipient of an annual Harvard University public sector honor Thursday, becoming the nation’s only law enforcement agency to hold this year’s accolade.

The sheriff’s department topped 450 other applicants in the selection process for Harvard’s 2015 Innovations in American Government Award, according to the announcement.

The award is recognition of the sheriff department’s Five Keys Charter School program, and it comes with a $100,000 endowment to help grow it.

Launched in 2003, the Five Keys Charter School was created to address the problem of criminal recidivism in the state by bolstering educational programs for inmates.

The schools operate in both jail embedded classrooms as well as 24 community learning centers in San Francisco and Oakland and 13 in Los Angeles, according to the sheriff’s department. It serves more than 9,000 students annually.

Harvard’s website explains that its annual award is intended to recognize, promote and disseminate programs such as these so that they can be emulated.

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and others will receive Harvard representatives in a ceremony that is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at San Francisco City Hall.

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