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The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor London Breed Announces Juvenile Justice Reform Blue Ribbon Panel

Panel will consist of experts in juvenile justice and will make recommendations for comprehensive reform to the entire juvenile justice system to help young people

San Francisco, CA — Today Mayor London N. Breed announced a Juvenile Justice Reform Blue Ribbon Panel that will focus on comprehensive and system-wide reform to San Francisco’s juvenile justice system. The Panel will include Human Rights Commission Director Sheryl Davis and Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Allen Nance, as well as representatives from the Public Defender’s Office, City departments, the Superior Court, San Francisco Unified School District, a member of the Board of Supervisors, juvenile justice advocates, community-based service providers, and individuals and youth with firsthand experience in the juvenile justice system. The Panel will begin meeting in April 2019.

The juvenile justice system is the structure of the criminal justice system that deals with crimes allegedly committed by minors, and is focused on rehabilitation. It includes both government and community agencies that work with at-risk youth, ranging from non-profit contractors providing community-based advocacy and counseling; juvenile probation and group homes; the county Juvenile Justice Center (formerly known as the Youth Guidance Center, or YGC); and the state-run Division of Juvenile Justice detention facilities. San Francisco has emphasized rehabilitation and counseling, reducing the number of detained youth by two-thirds over the last fifteen years.

“I have seen firsthand the impact our juvenile justice system has on our young people,” said Mayor Breed. “While we have had success in greatly reducing the number of incarcerated youth in San Francisco, we need to take the next step and reimagine what our system will be in the future. While there has been talk of shutting down our Juvenile Hall, it is important that before we make any decisions we look at the juvenile justice system as a whole. It is critical that we bring everyone to the table, that we do the work, and that we have answers as we make changes to this system. That is how we can make thoughtful, comprehensive reform that will support our young people when they do encounter the criminal justice system.”

The Panel is charged with finding systematic, implementable, and compassionate reforms to drastically reduce the number of youth detained in both Juvenile Hall and the state Division of Juvenile Justice. They will evaluate existing programming, facilities, and the statutory requirements of the juvenile justice system, with a focus on reinvestment and creating opportunities for at-risk youth. With an emphasis on feasibility and implementation, the Panel will recommend alternatives to detention and appropriate funding levels for related programming; compatible uses and investments for the City’s existing facilities at the Log Cabin Ranch and the Juvenile Justice Center; and will create a plan for eliminating discretionary youth detention in San Francisco.

“As one of the key stakeholders in San Francisco’s criminal justice system, we welcome the Mayor’s invitation to work on juvenile justice reform,” said San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju. “Representing our office will be Juvenile Justice Manager Patti Lee, who has over three decades of experience working with youth in our City.”

“Juvenile justice reform is not new to San Francisco or to Mayor Breed,” said Human Rights Commission Director Sheryl Davis, who has over 15 years of experience overseeing community-based organizations that work with low-income youth and families on economic development and violence prevention. “At the heart of this should be addressing the systemic issues that contribute to the inequities we see in our communities and prisons. An approach void of exploring prevention, systems change, resource allocation and alternative supports is doomed to fail. We want to ensure youth are prepared for success that we are prepared to help them be the best person they can be.”

“The Juvenile Probation Department is committed to ongoing efforts to drive down the number of youth who touch the juvenile justice system. We believe this focus on reform provides a perfect opportunity to embed evidence-based practices so that our youth and community receive maximum benefit. Community safety is best achieved when the best interest of our youth is served,” said Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Allen Nance.