The community justice center opened its doors for the first time this past week in S.F. While the scheduled cases didn’t happen because all defendants failed to appear, this court marks a push by Mayor Gavin Newsome to try and find a system that will turn around petty crimes and keep offenders from cycling through the system.
The court, originally voted down by the community is an attempt to decrease crime in the immediate areas by speeding the court process and also providing offenders with options other than incarceration. Because the court only serves misdemeanors and less serious felonies, people convicted within those walls will be more likely to be sentenced to community service.
In fact, increasing the level of community service and community supervision is part of the goals of the center. By having someone convicted of graffiti clean the neighborhood or encouraging other community service acts by the offenders, the programs supporters hope to not only deter the criminals, but also keep the neighborhoods cleaner and more welcoming.
The center will also help address drug addiction and alcoholism issues, helping offenders overcome the hurdles that led them down the criminal path.
The community court, located on Polk Street near Turk Street, houses a courtroom and offices for social workers, probation officers, lawyers, and health workers. The building even keeps staffers from the Department of Public Works. These employees will be tasked with organizing the community service efforts by the offenders.
While the center definitely has its critics, as this S.F. Gate article tells, time will tell if it does any good for the community it serves.
Whether seeing a judge at the Community Justice Center or any other courthouse in California the accused should always be represented by someone they can trust to defend their interests. If you are facing criminal charges here in California, please contact us for a consultation on yur case.