S.F. Prosecutor Defends Drug Offenders’ Diversion


Illegal immigrants whose drug convictions were expunged as part of a job training program overseen by prosecutors were “following the rules” and deserved to be exonerated even after officials learned of their status, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris told the San Francisco Chronicle. Prosecutors tightened guidelines after learning last summer that a man enrolled in Harris’ Back on Track program was an illegal immigrant who allegedly robbed and assaulted a woman.

“This is an innovative program that has actually been proven to work, except with this one issue, which we corrected when we learned about it,” Harris said. Under the program, people between 18 and 30 convicted of their first drug offense undergo job training, education, and counseling for one year, after which their convictions are wiped from their record. The district attorney’s office says 113 offenders have successfully completed the program, while 99 have failed and been sent back into the court system.

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