Community Justice Center a year later [EXCERPT]
By Heather Knight
March 31, 2010
Seven months ago, 49-year-old Carl Hall was a heroin and crack addict with a penchant for shoplifting clothes and electronics. He'd spent more than half of the previous two years in jail when he was picked up again for commercial burglary and violating his probation.
Hall has kicked his drug habit with the help of methadone, is interviewing for jobs and is engaged to be married in July. He attributed his turnaround to the Community Justice Center - the Tenderloin court to prosecute low-level crimes that is celebrating its first anniversary - and said he'd probably be headed to San Quentin without it.
"I'm no spring chicken," he said. "Going to the penitentiary doesn't seem like a good option for me."
Hall was one of seven men handpicked by CJC staff to tell their success stories to Mayor Gavin Newsom who played Oprah for an hour Tuesday morning. There was a lot of laughter, some tears and plenty of relief among politicians and court staff that the controversial court has worked when its very existence was initially in doubt.
"It's amazing - it's been a year since we organized this effort," Newsom said at the beginning of the session.