By Katherine Coviello
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has faced pervasive claims that his office has refused to file charges, but the DA’s office provided data dashboard information recently that appears to refute allegations the district attorney’s office has not been charging cases.
“I think the reason people have this false perception that we’re not prosecuting is actually because police clearance rates have plummeted,” DA spokesperson Rachel Marshall said in an article by the Mission Local.
Despite initial declines in 2020. which has been attributed to being out of the office due to COVID-19, Boudin’s tenure has actually produced a slightly higher charge rate than any of his predecessors since 2011, the dashboard suggests.
Additionally, reports of crime in 2020 and 2021 declined from 2019.
The main difference between Boudin and his predecessors, however, lies in Boudin’s focus on diversion programs, a pretrial sentencing tool for rehabilitation that aims to produce better outcomes for individuals and reduce burdens on the court system.
Diversion programs can be effective, according to a California Policy Lab report which showed likelihood of being arrested significantly decreased after participation in the Make-It-Right diversion program.
The result of increasing diversions is ultimately lower conviction rates. This has been a point of contention for the police department and the community as perceived crime rates have increased.
Boudin has long stood for anti-incarceration policies, despite pushback.
“We want to address root causes of crime and when we think that can be helped through one of these diversion programs, then we absolutely support that.” Marshall told the Mission Local.