SAN FRANCISCO – Declaring that although 2020 has been a year of “divisive politics and national reckoning with racism, police brutality, and systemic injustice,” San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju said Thursday that Tuesday’s election illustrated a “consensus” of voters support a “path of meaningful criminal justice reform.”
“Much work is left to be done. I will continue to listen to the needs of the communities my office serves and work with lawmakers and stakeholders as we focus on repairing and reimagining the justice system and redefining public safety,” said Raju.
He noted that, referring not only to state propositions but local measures, “people voted for measures that will increase law enforcement accountability and decrease reliance on incarceration as a public safety tool. While there are ballots left to count, all of these propositions are headed for victory.”
Raju cited the apparent passage of Prop. 17 that would restore voting rights to thousands of Californians currently on parole in the state, and the defeat of Prop. 20, which would have “rolled back decades of reform efforts that my office and voters have supported to end mass incarceration in our state.”
He also touted the defeat of Prop. 25, which would have ended the “unfair” cash bail system, but would have replaced SB 10 and put in place a “risk assessment” decision to decide who will be released that is also unfair.
“Risk assessment tools have been shown to discriminate against communities of color, immigrants, and people from low-income neighborhoods,” said Raju.
“My office has long fought for bail reform in the courts, which has resulted in the Humphrey case currently pending review by the California Supreme Court. If the case is upheld, it will abolish the practice of using high money bail to detain poor people. The ruling makes clear that judges must consider non-monetary alternatives to money bail when making pretrial release decisions,” he added.
Raju also highlighted local criminal reform measures that did well in San Francisco and neighboring Sonoma County.
“In San Francisco, voters have largely supported Proposition D to establish formal oversight of our Sheriff’s department and the way in which they operate our jail system, as well as Proposition E to remove an outdated mandatory staffing minimum of police officers and send the SFPD through the annual budget process that all city departments must go through to justify and secure staffing,” he said.
“I am also encouraged to see that Sonoma County supported Proposition P to establish Sheriff oversight there and that Measure J was successful in Los Angeles, which is a vote for investing in community improvements and alternatives to incarceration,” Raju said.
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