Mar 18, 2011

SF Chronicle feature story on Community Justice Center

It is often heard in the courtroom and in the elevator up to the Service Center that the CJC is a place that really cares and is helping participants get their lives back on track. Two years in, the CJC is proving itself as an exceptional social and criminal justice program. Here’s an excerpt from an excellent article that ran in yesterday’s SF Chronicle:

“Roughly a year ago, Lacrecia Hicks was locked up for walking out of Safeway with a friend who hadn't paid for an armful of food and hygiene products.
Normally she'd go to criminal court, and if she was found guilty of theft, do time or pay a fine. But she didn't.
Instead, she decided to go to San Francisco's once-controversial Community Justice Center, where for the past two years she and hundreds of others have been allowed to avoid jail if they agree to seek treatment for addiction, mental instability or other issues that may have led them to break the law in the first place.
Two years after a bitter fight over its creation, more than 3,200 people have come before the court, which is now lauded by its early critics. Unlike jail, supporters say, the program gives San Francisco's underserved residents the support they need to clean up and avoid trouble.
"Those are things we can do faster than most and do more effectively than most," said Commissioner Everett Hewlett Jr., who has overseen the court since January. ”


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