San Francisco is the sole city and county dual jurisdiction in the state of California. By participating in the Safety and Justice Challenge, San Francisco has made exemplary advancements in custodial programs and community-based alternatives and has significantly lowered its incarceration rate. The jurisdiction has become a model for other jurisdictions to engage in similar strategies to deflect and divert individuals who come in contact with the criminal justice system.
To build on past efforts, San Francisco was awarded $2 million from the Safety and Justice Challenge in 2018 to implement strategies that address the main drivers of the local jail population, including unfair and ineffective practices that take a particularly heavy toll on people of color, low-income communities, and people with mental health and substance abuse issues.
To continue safely reducing the jail population, the county plans to implement five key strategies aimed at addressing system inefficiencies and disparities, meeting the needs of those with behavioral health and substance abuse issues, and instituting non-jail options for lower-risk offenders while prioritizing public safety and victim protection. These strategies include pre-arrest and pretrial diversion strategies, criminal sentencing and correctional strategies that emphasize rehabilitation and reduce recidivism, improvements to case processing efficiency, enhanced services for people with mental illness or substance abuse issues involved with the justice system, and rooting out disparity and racial bias.