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Public defenders stand up to money bail

In response to a pair of major statewide developments in the fight to abolish money bail, San Francisco public defenders will file challenges in every criminal case in which bail is set. San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today that his office has filed 282 challenges in current felonies and misdemeanors since Oct. 10, representing 14 times the amount typically filed in the same period. Each challenge results in a hearing in which a judge must consider the defendant’s financial circumstances and alternatives to incarceration rather than simply relying on a pre-set dollar amount.

Coalition that stopped new SF jail wins human rights award as...

The No New SF Jail Coalition has been selected to receive the prestigious Hero Award by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and its Equity Advisory Committee. The coalition celebrated a monumental victory last December, when, after years of community organizing and advocacy, they persuaded the Board of Supervisors to reject plans for a new jail in San Francisco.

Study: Shocking racial disparities in San Francisco courts

African Americans in San Francisco are more likely to await trial behind bars than their white counterparts and face harsher punishment once convicted, according to a new study commissioned by the San Francisco Reentry Council. Unlike previous reports, the study went beyond racial disparities in arrests and focused on unequal treatment in the courts as well, said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who co-chairs the Reentry Council.

‘In an Ideal World’: an interview with filmmaker Noel Schwerin

Filmmaker Noel Schwerin is someone who is concerned about the way prisoners are classified and housed in racially segregated units in California and around the United States. Come check out “In an Ideal World” at the San Francisco Black Film Festival as well as meet the filmmaker Noel Schwerin and one of the former prisoners in the film to discuss this and many other issues dealing with the human rights of prisoners.

‘I contribute to peace,’ a pledge to end hostilities inside and...

We, under the union of the United KAGE Brothers, joined with the Prisoners Political Action Committee (PAC), welcome you to our communion. We aim to unite and unionize internationally the peace movement – under the Agreement to End Hostilities – as an ad campaign from prison to the street. As people of all colors, races, creeds, genders and sexualities, we stand in solidarity with the following pledge.

Children of incarcerated parents say no to a new jail in...

San Francisco’s jail population is steadily decreasing, and we hope that the number of San Francisco youth struggling to find support during their parents’ and family members’ incarceration will decrease with it. This is why we as youth who have all experienced parental incarceration in San Francisco oppose a new jail in our city. Why invest in a new jail rather than the potential of our youth?

Exposing a national crisis in Black mental health behind bars

When Dr. Samuel Cartwright coined the term “drapetomania” in 1864, he advanced a historical agenda to secure Black subjugation in America. The logic underlying the continuation and funding of the mass incarceration of the disproportionately Black mentally ill and Dr. Cartwright’s medical breakthroughs is the same: Black people’s mental health cannot be achieved, so society has to maintain extreme and inhumane restrictions on their freedom.

Grand Jury investigates Santa Cruz County Jail deaths

Santa Cruz County is seen by many as a model for enlightened jail and prison policies. But last month the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury released a report on the unusual number of deaths in the county jail in 2012 and 2013 titled “Five Deaths in Santa Cruz: An Investigation of In-Custody Deaths.” The Grand Jury found that a lack of after-hours mental health evaluations and failures to follow procedures on the part of jail staff likely contributed to the deaths.

The story behind the 2015 California Budget Act

​In mid-June, Gov. Brown signed the Budget Act of 2015, which shows no vision for the future of most Californians. In total, this budget underestimated the amount of resources available, overestimated the cost of vital programs, and chose spending on debt service, rainy day funds and prisons instead of the people of California and the vital services they need.

Activists mobilize against California’s proposed $500 million jail expansion

After the revised proposed state budget was released yesterday, activists from around the state are calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to remove the $500 million outlined for jail expansion. With $15 billion in cuts to social safety net programs, prison reform groups like Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) are questioning why the state is increasing spending on prisons and jails instead of social programs and public education.

Racism sin vergüenza in the Venezuelan counter-revolution

Demonization, animalization and criminalization of people of African and Indigenous descent are themes both deeply embedded and flagrantly visible in the culture and institutions of Venezuelan society. White supremacy endures in Venezuela, often resembling the United States and other settler colonial countries founded on conquest and slavery. The Bolivarian Revolution has seriously improved the lives of Venezuela’s majority – who are people of color.

San Mateo County residents protest toxic jail on Earth Day

Community members from around San Mateo County gathered outside of the new jail site and the County Center wearing hazardous materials suits and gas masks to illustrate the toxic nature of the new jail. They spoke about the ways a new jail will harm communities and the environment as well as draining the county’s budget of desperately needed resources.

Solidarity and solitary: When unions clash with prison reform

The battle over the future of Tamms became the most visible and contentious example of a phenomenon seen around the country: Otherwise progressive unions are taking reactionary positions when it comes to prisons, supporting addiction to mass incarceration. And when it comes to issues of prisoners’ rights in general, and solitary confinement in particular, they are seen as a major obstacle to reform.

Locked down, exploited and mistreated

Inmate beatings by prison guards occur across Georgia following an eight-day peaceful protest to highlight inhumane conditions in the prisons. These protesting prisoners must be silenced because a whole range of corporate interests has found that they can profit from caging human beings.

Study confirms that Public Defender Reentry Program saves money and lives

The first study to assess the impact of the San Francisco Public Defender's Office reentry social work program found that alternatives to incarceration, reduced sentencing and avoided jail days obtained as a result of reentry advocacy saved California state prisons over $5,000,000 and San Francisco County over $1,000,000.

Letest News

‘Far, Far Better Things’ playing through May 19 at Live Oak...

It is easy to become what you know, so easy. What’s difficult is resisting. Unresolved trauma haunts the gene pool. A son, Josh (actor Yohana Ansari-Thomas) witnesses his mother’s murder or its aftermath – Dad’s bloody shirt and subsequent kidnapping of the children until he is captured. This same boy, now man, still has unresolved memories of that day when his mom was shot and the housekeeper “stood there and did nothing.”

In tribute to Marie Harrison: Until our very last breath

You’ve been an especially effective, strong, patient and articulate voice confronting forces that do not respect human rights or human life. You’ve told these opportunists firmly and politely that every human being on earth has the right to live and raise their children and see their grandchildren thrive in pollution-free places and to breathe clean air without toxins.

SF OCII seeks Parks Maintenance and Property Management for Hunters Point...

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS - PARKS MAINTENANCE AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT The Office of Community Investment...

San Francisco Public Defender’s Office responds to the ongoing investigation regarding...

The Office of the Public Defender does not condone or support excessive police actions ever. We regularly see the fear, trauma and lasting damage to our indigent clients – largely Black and Brown people – when the police execute warrants by breaking down doors, flashing guns and handcuffing occupants. To the extent Mr. Carmody experienced such treatment, we support his efforts to seek redress.

Moms and babies in Michigan receive the gold-standard of care through...

Community-based doulas play an important role in helping decrease maternal and infant mortality rates and increase breastfeeding rates. These women are trained to provide peer support to other women in their communities throughout pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenting.