SF District Attorney

Policy

Sentencing Commission

The Sentencing Commission advises the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors on strategies to improve public safety, reduce recidivism, and reform criminal sentencing

The City and County of San Francisco has improved public safety and reduced our overreliance on incarceration, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The San Francisco Sentencing Commission, which was formed in 2012 and is led by the District Attorney’s Office, advises the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors on strategies to improve public safety, reduce recidivism, modernize the justice system, and reform criminal sentencing. 

Meeting information and archives  

Our approach

Evidence-based decision making

The Sentencing Commission makes recommendations based on best practices, research, and data analysis. It is also responsible for developing inter-agency data collection and reporting standards, tracking sentencing patterns, and analyzing outcomes. This work ensures that decision makers can deliver evidence-based criminal justice reforms. 

View Reports  

Collaboration across agencies

The Sentencing Commission consists of members from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Adult Probation Department, Juvenile Probation Department, Sheriff’s Department, Police Department, Department of Public Health, Reentry Council, Superior Court, and nonprofits that serve victims and/or formerly incarcerated people. Academic researchers and sentencing experts also serve on the commission. Each member brings a unique perspective that helps generate innovative criminal justice reform strategies.

Agencies & BodiesMembers
District Attorney’s OfficeChesa Boudin, District Attorney
Public DefenderManohar Raju, Public Defender
Adult ProbationKaren Fletcher, Adult Probation Chief
Juvenile ProbationKatherine Weinstein Miller, Juvenile Probation Chief
SheriffPaul M. Miyamoto, Sheriff
PoliceWilliam Scott, Police Chief
Department of Public HealthDr. Grant Colfax, Director
Reentry CouncilKaren Roye, Director Child Support Services
Superior Court*Honorable Garrett Wong, Presiding Judge
Member of a nonprofit org serving victims chosen by the Family Violence CouncilJerel McCray, Attorney
Member of non-profit org working with formerly incarcerated people chosen by the Reentry CouncilJose Bernal
Sentencing expert chosen by the Board of SupervisorsTheshia Naidoo, Legal Director, Criminal Justice Drug Policy Alliance
Academic researcher with expertise in data analysis appointed by the MayorSteven Raphael PhD, Professor, Goldman School of Public Policy University of California Berkeley

* Invited

Commitment to equity and racial justice

In 2018, the Sentencing Commission unanimously approved the Criminal Justice Racial Equity Statement and formed the Criminal Justice Racial Equity Workgroup. This group meets bi-monthly to discuss practical steps that stakeholders can take toward eliminating racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

View the Criminal Justice Racial Equity Statement → 

Our work

The Sentencing Commission meets regularly to discuss a wide range of topics related to criminal sentencing in San Francisco. Recently, the Commission held hearings on local sentencing trends, procedural justice, the elimination of racial disparities in the justice system – just to name a few. These hearings result in concrete policy recommendations which are submitted to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors annually.

The powers and duties of the Sentencing Commission include: 

  • Recommend evidence-based criminal sentencing strategies; 
  • Consider how to apply best practices from other cities; 
  • Explore community-based alternatives to incarceration;  
  • Recommend changes to the Penal Code and state law to improve the criminal justice system; 
  • Develop a shared definition of recidivism;  
  • Develop data collection and reporting standards; 
  • Facilitate trainings for criminal justice agencies; and 
  • Share information and collaborate with the Reentry Council. 

Subcommittees and working groups

The Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) Subcommittee oversees a collaborative citywide effort funded by the MacArthur Foundation to safely and sustainably reduce the local jail population. The SJC subcommittee uses data-driven strategies to identify the main drivers of the jail population, close racial disparities, and reduce San Francisco’s overreliance on incarceration. In 2020, the Board of Supervisors approved the closure of County Jail 4 and assigned responsibility for the closure to the SJC Subcommittee. 

 The Criminal Justice Racial Equity Workgroup (CJREW) operating in partnership with the SJC, developed a racial equity statement and an “Agenda for Action” to pursue the commitment to eliminate racial disparities in San Francisco’s criminal justice system. The action plan includes steps such as creating an inventory of implicit bias trainings conducted by criminal justice agencies. These will lead to recommendations for and implementation of additional training. 

Past working groups helped create: 

Resources