From the Office of San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón
August 11, 2012
At his quarterly neighborhood newspaper briefing Friday, District Attorney George Gascón announced plans to ramp up the Neighborhood Prosecutor Initiative as part of his vision to make San Francisco the safest large city in the country.
“Neighborhood Prosecutors play an integral role in making our communities safer by working with community stakeholders to address and solve neighborhood concerns,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “By having stronger partnerships with the community, we can better address neighborhood and citywide public safety issues and improve the quality of life for everyone.”
The District Attorney’s Neighborhood Prosecution Initiative works by bringing the District Attorney’s Office into the community to facilitate the resolution of crimes that diminish the quality of life for local residents. Neighborhood Prosecutors are assigned to each Police District. They review misdemeanor and infraction cases and determine eligibility for Neighborhood Court, increase neighborhood cohesion, and increase communication and collaboration between the DA’s office, the community, criminal justice partners, and community based organizations.
Neighborhood Courts is an alternative to Traffic Court and Criminal Court. Instead of charging cases for criminal prosecution, the District Attorney’s Office can refer certain misdemeanor and infraction cases to Neighborhood Court and a panel of volunteer adjudicators will hear the case. Individuals cited for nonviolent offenses by police such as drinking in public, vandalism and petty theft are pre-screened by a Neighborhood Prosecutor to determine whether the case is suitable for neighborhood courts. Offenders who choose neighborhood courts agree to abide by the prescribed outcomes that focus on restoring both the community and the offender. Offenders who are successful in meeting the terms avoid having a conviction on their criminal record. There are ten Neighborhood Courts across the city.